The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Nabih Berri, is currently attempting to formalize his candidacy as the next prime minister-designate, the Arabic-speaking daily Asharq al-Awsat is currently trying to make.
He would act on the suggestion of Saad Hariri himself who had proposed either Najib Mikati or Tamam Salam. However, the 2 men would have previously refused, considering it impossible to cooperate with the Presidency of the Republic.
Nabih Berri would thus demand the establishment of a government of national unity to unblock economic aid from the international community “or he will announce his refusal to participate in this government or to guarantee his political support”, notes the newspaper in its columns.
The president of the legislative body also reportedly communicated his proposals to Hezbollah.
As a reminder, the Presidency of the Republic has announced that the mandatory parliamentary consultations with a view to appointing a new prime minister will begin on July 26, after the Eid el Adha celebrations.
Saad Hariri had announced the withdrawal of his candidacy on July 16 because of a dispute with the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, 9 months after being appointed and 11 months after the resignation of the Hassan Diab government.
He had received the support of the president of the chamber after having granted his request to see one of his relatives be renewed as finance minister. In the end, he proposed a close friend of Nabih Berri, Youssef Khalil, also one of the vice-governors of the Banque du Liban in this post, despite the reservations of certain foreign sources, in particular within the International Monetary Fund with whom however, he will have to negotiate to obtain the release of economic aid from the international community.
This failure would have been induced by disputes relating to the attribution of the ministries of the interior and of justice, 2 key positions within the framework of the investigation relating to the explosion of the port of Beirut, on August 4, 2020, and on the forensic audit of the Banque du Liban, 2 cases in which relatives of both Nabih Berri and Saad Hariri are allegedly involved.
Who is Najib Mikati?
Born on November 24, 1955 in Tripoli in northern Lebanon, Najib Mikati was prime minister from April to July 2005 and from June 2011 to February 2014.
He became known to the business world. In 1982, he founded with his brother, the M1 group, mainly based on the telecommunications industry, which will invest in various Arab countries and Africa, but also in the banking sector in Lebanon and more recently. in Burma by buying a local operator with a controversy over this opportunity while this country is the subject of a military coup
His current fortune is estimated at 2.6 billion dollars, allowing it to appear in the Forbes ranking of the richest people in the world.
A politician with an ambiguous course
He will first become Minister of Transport and Public Works in the government of Salim Hoss, on December 4, 1998 and will be one of the rare ministers of this cabinet to be elected deputy in Tripoli in 2000 in the face of the Current of the Future of the first Minister Rafic Hariri whom he will join within the team that the latter will constitute.
Despite strong friendships with the Syrian regime – he is a personal friend of President Bashar al-Assad, he declared himself opposed but still voted in favor of a constitutional amendment granting the President of the Republic Emile Lahoud 3 additional years in office.
He will be appointed Prime Minister in April 2005 in a context made tense by the attack which claimed the life of Rafic Hariri. His government will have to organize the legislative elections of June 2005 with the assurance that he and his ministers will not stand for election. The Fouad Saniora government will succeed him.
He will be reappointed as Prime Minister on January 25, 2011, after the resignation of the Saad Hariri government during the term of President Michel Sleiman. He will resign on March 22, 2013 due to disputes within the government itself, disputes relating to electoral law.
Since then, he has been part of the club of 4 former prime ministers with Tamam Salam, Fouad Saniora and therefore Saad Hariri who regularly denounce the violations, according to them, of the Lebanese constitution in relation to the prerogatives of prime ministers, in a sectarian and confessional context. .
Controversial candidate also the target of popular fury
Najib Mikati is also regularly denounced by the inhabitants of his city, whom they accuse of embezzlement.
In 2019, Judge Ghada Aoun, prosecutor of Mount Lebanon, had also indicted Najib Mikati, his son Maher and his brother Taha as well as the Audi Bank – bank in which he owns a large part of the shares in the form of certificates of deposit with the Deutsch Bank in particular – for having illegally enriched himself within the framework of loans subsidized by the Banque du Liban (BDL) originally intended for people with limited means. For its part, the banking establishment refutes any violation of local legislation.
He will also be involved in embezzlement of European funds, indicated in 2019, the TRTWorld website , alongside former Foreign Commissioner Federica Mogherini and former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. MEPs thus demanded the opening of a parliamentary inquiry into this affair. , something for the moment still pending despite the recognition by the former commissioner that anomalies were noted, during a hearing before the Parliament meeting in Strasbourg.
According to the original investigation, the EU would have paid for the purchase of land and the construction of at least six wastewater treatment plants which are now inactive and have never worked – also part of a scam many more important. Thus, potentially $ 110 million could have been embezzled, notes TRT World.
These revelations come when a conference took place in Brussels, a few weeks ago, where Omar Harfouche was present. The latter accused politicians and associations of Tripoli, of being at the origin of the failure of the establishment of a waste management plant for an amount of 38 million dollars which he had for project of build because of corruption.
He would have accused Najib Mikati of having threatened him, in the context of this case, “to make him disappear” during a telephone conversation.
Faced with these accusations, numerous demonstrations took place outside his home in Tripoli. He himself went so far as to threaten, on January 29, 2021, to use weapons against demonstrators to defend his properties on the spot in the event of loss of control by the Lebanese army.