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Lebanon's Mikati, Grand Mufti Call for 'Positive' Reply to Gulf Initiative

Lebanon's Mikati, Grand Mufti Call for 'Positive' Reply to Gulf Initiative

Saturday, 29 January, 2022 - 05:30
PM Mikati and Frand Mufti Derian meet at the Grand Serail. (Dalati & Nohra)

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and former PM Fuad Saniora announced on Friday that they will not call for a Sunni boycott of the upcoming parliamentary elections, days after former Premier Saad Hariri said he was suspending his political career.

Mikati met on Friday with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdullaltif al-Derian at the Grand Serail.

The PM stressed that the elections will be held as scheduled on May 15 and that the Sunnis cannot possibly boycott them.

"We will definitely not call for a Sunni boycott and whoever wishes to run in the polls should do so," he said.

Saniora reiterated Mikati's statements, which will likely be advocated by Dar al-Fatwa that is holding consultations with Sunni figures ahead of makings a final stance over the polls.

Derian addressed with Mikati efforts to mend Lebanon's ties with Arab countries, especially the Gulf.

They stressed the need for Lebanon to make an official positive response to the Gulf initiative that was presented by Kuwait last week to rectify relations.

Hariri's stepping down from political life has raised concerns in Lebanon that other Sunni figures may follow suit, like former PM Tammam Salam.

Sources from Dar al-Fatwa told Asharq Al-Awsat that Derian is holding talks with Sunni figures and others from other sects.

He will always stand at an equal distance from all parties, they stressed.

Sheikh Khaldoun Aramit, head of the "Islamic Center for Studies and Media", said Derian was holding contacts with Arab and Lebanese figures away from the media in order to find the suitable way to fill the void left by Hariri.

He told Asharq Al-Awsat that parties have started their efforts to attract supporters of Hariri's Mustaqbal movement, which will also boycott the polls.

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