Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati was chosen as the next Prime Minister designate in place of Saad Hariri after the mandatory parliamentary consultations carried out by the Presidency of the Republic and this despite the opposition of the main Christian parties, this despite a protest that took place overnight from Sunday to Monday outside his Beirut home due to his controversial role.
In total, Najib Mikati received 72 votes in his favor and Nawaf Salam only one vote. 42 parliamentarians abstained and 3 were absent including Nouhad Machnou who spoke on this subject via Twitter.
Najib Mikati therefore received the support of a narrow majority of deputies including those of the Future Current parliamentary bloc led by Samir el Jisr with the notable exception of the former interior minister Nouhad Machnouk , as well as Hezbollah and the Amal Movement whose delegation was headed by the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
The appointment of Najib Mikati was announced after a meeting with the President of the Republic and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies.
This nomination was greeted by the black market where the Lebanese pound regained large ground, up to 16,500 LL / USD before falling back to around 18,000 LL / USD, just 2 weeks after its all-time low, at 23. 450 LL / USD, on July 9 following the announcement of the withdrawal of Saad Hariri’s candidacy.
As a reminder, his 3 predecessors, Fouad Saniora, Tamam Salam or Saad Hariri declared themselves in favor of Najib Mikati yesterday, during a meeting which took place at the center house, home of Saad Hariri.
The parliamentary consultations of the new Prime Minister-designate are also expected to begin tomorrow at 11:30 am in Parliament. It will be a question of discussing with the various representatives of the political parties before submitting a governmental formula to the President of the Republic.
But a nomination not supported by the main Christian parties
The Free Patriotic Current has refrained from supporting anyone who has indicated its president, Gébran Bassil, as have the Lebanese forces.
Previously, sources close to the CPL had however indicated that he had to vote in favor of Nawaf Salam. The 2 Christian parties will also be joined by the Armenian parliamentary bloc which abstained.
The latter finally received the support of deputy Fouad Makhzoumi, a time also expected to be the next tenant of the Grand Serail.
The lack of support from Christian parties could thus complicate negotiations between the various political parties with a view to distributing ministerial portfolios, except that of finance.
A government that part of the international community and local civil society doubt
From now on, it will be up to Najib Mikati to form a new government in cooperation with the President of the Republic. This will be his 3rd cabinet, having been Prime Minister from April to July 2005 and from June 2011 to February 2014.
If he succeeds, he will succeed Hassan Diab who announced the resignation of his government on August 10, 2020, 6 days after the explosion of the Port of Beirut with the heavy task of dealing with the deterioration of social and economic conditions.
His government should in particular face the economic crisis that the Land of Cedars is currently going through. However, experts doubt his ability to really respond to the demands of the international community, himself being accused of embezzlement of European funds by the Parliament of Brussels and others by because of his links with the banking sector and the requests the IMF to accept the losses of Lebanese banks in accordance with its estimates, which could induce either a significant discount or a bail-out of the existing shareholders of which it is a member.
Another downside to this appointment, still the question of the finance ministry required by the Amal movement and the appointment of the interior and justice ministers, Najib Mikati himself being the subject of legal proceedings in Lebanon for embezzlement. originally intended to finance homes for the most vulnerable people.
Finally, this designation may not also meet the demands of civil society when he had threatened demonstrators who were protesting in front of his home with weapons two times ago. A demonstration took place again yesterday in front of his Beirut home to denounce what some qualify as a masquerade of traditional political parties.
A country without a government as the economic crisis hits it hard
Lebanon has been without government since the resignation, on August 10, of outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
The formation of a new government is considered as one of the preconditions for the relaunch of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in order to obtain the release of financial aid from the international community in the face of the economic crisis that Lebanon is going through.
Following Mustafa Adib’s failure to form a cabinet, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned following major protests in October 2019, was tasked with forming a new government in October 2020.
In an attempt to unblock the situation, the former prime minister promised the Amal movement to allocate the portfolio of the finance ministry to a member of the Shiite community. He also reiterated that Lebanon could do without a state of default, thus denying the gravity of the economic crisis however experienced by the population, with 55% of it now living below the poverty line while the economic recession has reached 29% according to some reports for the year 2020.
However, Saad Hariri’s proposals for an 18-member cabinet clash with the Presidency of the Republic, who points out that if the Shiite and Sunni communities choose their representatives, the Christian representatives in the new cabinet would also be chosen by the former. designated minister. General Aoun de facto considers that the current proposals of the Prime Minister contravene both the Lebanese constitution and the national pact.
The latter, for his part, accuses the head of state of wanting to obtain a blocking third party within his new cabinet.