Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has not succeeded in maintaining neutrality in the escalating dispute between President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, which broke out on the background of the 1994 Seniority Decree, which Berri insists is unconstitutional because it does not hold the signature of the finance minister.
Unlike Hezbollah, which has kept silence over the matter - refusing to take a public stance in the conflict between its allies - Hariri was forced to line up with Aoun after signing the decree, which strained his relations with Berri.
According to well-informed sources close to Berri, “the Speaker is still blaming the Prime Minister, who had previously promised him not to sign the decree, but later approved Aoun’s request to sign it.”
The sources added, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat: “Originally, if Hariri had kept his promise, the crisis between Berri and Aoun would not have reached the current stalemate,” noting that the ongoing crisis would negatively affect the relation between the premier and Berri.
Member of Berri’s Development and Liberation Bloc Ali Khreiss told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Amal and its president are seeking good and solid relations with all parties without exception, in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. But when it comes to substantial matters, such as the issue of the decree or seeking amendments to the electoral law a few months before the election, the situation cannot be tolerated.”
Future Movement Member and Former MP Mustafa Allouch said: “Hariri has stressed from the beginning his keenness on the success of the new era, and is weaving the best relations with the President; there is no doubt that the Lebanese structure makes any political official face many obstacles, if he tried to be neutral.”
Tension between Berri and Hariri will likely impact their electoral alliances, paving the way for a complete separation, especially that Amal has explicitly declared its participation in the parliamentary elections, aligned with Hezbollah, while the Future Movement has announced an alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement and its refusal to cooperate with Hezbollah.