Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Sunday harshly criticized the Free Patriotic Movement – the political party of President Michel Aoun — after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet.
A statement released by Hariri’s office called the policies of the FPM “irresponsible” in connection with the controversy over the nomination for the premiership of ex-minister Mohammed Safadi.
Below is the full text of an English-language statement issued by Hariri’s office:
“Since former Minister Mohammad Safadi asked to withdraw his candidacy for the formation of the new government, the Free Patriotic Movement has been trying, either through statements from its deputies and officials or through media leaks, to hold Prime Minister Saad Hariri responsible for this withdrawal, under the pretext that he backed down on promises made to Minister Safadi and that this candidacy was only a maneuver to limit the possibility of forming a government to Prime Minister Hariri.
In view of the persistence to make false accusations, the following points should be clarified:
First: Reviewing the withdrawal statement of Minister Safadi is sufficient to show that he was sure of Prime Minister Hariri’s support for him and his best relationship with him. He also hoped that Prime Minister Hariri would be designated again, which totally contradicts the FPM’s version. It is also clear in the statement that Minister Safadi was sincere and transparent in announcing that he found difficulty in “forming a homogeneous government supported by all political parties that would enable it to take immediate rescue measures that would put an end to the economic and financial deterioration and respond to the aspirations of the people in the street”, which completely contradicts the allegations of the FPM and its officials.
Second: It was Minister Gebran Bassil who insistently proposed twice the name of Minister Safadi, which Prime Minister Hariri quickly agreed to, after Hariri’s proposals of names from the civil society, most notably Judge Nawaf Salam, had been repeatedly rejected. It is not surprising that Prime Minister Hariri approved the candidacy of Minister Safadi, as everyone knows their friendship that was translated in many political occasions.
Third: Prime Minister Hariri does not maneuver, and does not seek to limit the possibility of forming a government to himself. He was the first to present alternative names to form a government. He was clear, from the first day of the government’s resignation, with all the representatives of the parliamentary blocs, that he does not evade any national responsibility, but national responsibility itself requires him to inform the Lebanese and the parliamentary blocs in advance that if he is named in the binding parliamentary consultations imposed by the constitution, he will only form a government of technocrats, based on his conviction that only such a government is capable of facing the severe and deep economic crisis through which Lebanon is going.
Fourth, and finally: The policy of maneuvers and leaks and the attempt to score points adopted by the Free Patriotic Movement is an irresponsible policy in the major national crisis that our country is going through. If it had done a real review, it would have stopped such an irresponsible policy and its repeated attempts to infiltrate the government lineups, and the government would have been formed and would have begun to address the serious national and economic crisis. And perhaps our country wouldn’t have reached this point in the first place.”