Lebanon: President’s Conditions Complicate Cabinet Formation Process
Lebanese President Michel Aoun has renewed his call for the formation of a government of politicians and technocrats, setting new standards for the process, cabinet ministers close to the president.
Aoun said on Tuesday the government must bring together politicians, specialists and activists, while sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the prime minister-designate must approve the new standards to head the next cabinet.
Well-informed sources said that caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri did not go back on his position regarding the need to form a technocrat government.
“Hariri said what he has to say,” the sources told Asharq Al-Awsat, noting that he would only accept to lead a cabinet of technocrats.
The sources added that Hariri had put forward the name of Lebanon’s Ambassador to the UN Nawaf Salam for the premiership, but his proposal was rejected.
“We can’t ignore street protests that brought down the previous government… We should have a pragmatic assessment of the situation on the ground … and work to lay a solid foundation for any future government,” the sources underlined.
Aoun has yet to call for consultations with parliamentary blocs’ leaders to name a new premier, three weeks after Hariri resigned amid nationwide protests.
However, Lebanese ministerial sources said that contacts with Aoun’s rivals, such as the Lebanese Forces, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Kataeb, had reached a standstill.
The sources were surprised by Aoun’s recent comments about a government of politicians and technocrats, stressing that Hariri was not in a position to head such a cabinet.
Aoun met on Tuesday with the UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis, at the Baabda Palace.
A statement by the presidential office said he was still holding contacts to form a new government that would enjoy “the needed political support and include representatives of the political components and protesters alongside technocrats.”
The president added that he would set a date for the binding parliamentary consultations when the talks with the concerned political parties yield results by removing obstacles hindering the cabinet formation process.