Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri has rejected forming a cabinet that would be similar to the resigned government, Grand Serail sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The PM met with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace on Thursday. He briefly told reporters that he visited Aoun “to consult with him on the government formation.”
“We will complete consultations with other parties later,” Hariri stated.
Following the meeting, Hariri’s sources said the resigned PM is open to all choices and that his ongoing consultations are based on a conviction that the upcoming phase cannot be the same as the pre-protests period.
Hariri resigned after an unprecedented wave of protests against the ruling elite has swept Lebanon since Oct. 17.
“If Hariri is named Prime Minister, he will form a government based on his own discipline and vision. However, in case his conditions are not met, Hariri informed concerned officials that it was possible to agree on another figure for the premiership, whom he would not name,” the sources explained.
Baabda sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Hariri-Aoun meeting tackled the government formation and the country’s economic and financial situation.
Aoun has yet to formally start binding consultations with lawmakers to name the new prime minister, drawing criticism from rivals and protesters.
However, presidential sources said the President would not set a date for the consultations without a prior political agreement on the shape of the cabinet.
The sources said it was difficult to meet the demands of protesters on forming a government of technocrats over the rejection of some main parliamentary blocs that prefer the next government include both technocrats and political figures.
They said Aoun is keen on securing an agreement that would facilitate the formation of the government. “There won’t be any parliamentary consultations before the President knows the shape of the next cabinet,” the sources said.
Speaker Nabih Berri insisted on nominating Hariri as prime minister, NBN television reported on Thursday.
“Nominating Hariri is for the good of Lebanon,” Berri told the network.