Samir Khatib, whose name emerged Tuesday as a strong candidate for the PM post, has announced that he is willing to form the new government should there be “consensus” on his nomination.
“I’m ready to assume the mission of forming and leading a government and to serve the country amid these extraordinary circumstances and I will try to rescue the country should there be consensus on my nomination and if the various parties intend to rescue the country,” Khatib, the director general of the Khatib & Alami engineering firm, said in remarks to MTV.
He added: “I have been contacted by the various parties in order to be tasked with forming the government seeing as I’m unbiased and noncontroversial and because I run a successful firm in which I succeeded thanks to my competence.”
Khatib also noted that he is a “secular man,” adding that he has a “special personal relation” with caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
Earlier in the day, Hariri had announced that he will not head the next government, a move he said aims to expedite the formation a new cabinet in the protest-hit country.
Hariri had submitted his administration’s resignation on October 29, bowing to popular pressure from a nationwide street movement demanding a complete government haul.
Hariri did not name an alternative candidate, but said his decision aims to “open doors to a solution.”
He hoped President Michel Aoun would “immediately call for binding parliamentary consultations to appoint a new premier.”
Presidential palace sources meanwhile told reporters that the consultations will likely be held on Thursday, although an official statement is yet to be released.
Officials from the Free Patriotic Movement, the party founded by Aoun, have accused Hariri of delaying the process by refusing to accept any other candidate for the premiership, a charge Hariri has denied.
The United States, Britain, France, the U.N., World Bank and credit rating agencies have all urged officials to streamline the process in the wake of a twin political and economic crisis gripping the country.
A former finance minister, Mohammed Safadi, had been considered to replace Hariri but withdrew his bid after more protests.
Aoun’s powers include initiating the required parliamentary consultations to appoint a new premier.
The president has said he was open to a government that would include technocrats and representatives of the popular movement, both key demands of the protesters.
However, the demonstrators say they will reject any government that consists of representatives of the established parties.