Was Mikati assigned to form the new Lebanese government?

Lebanese President Michel Aoun will hold consultations with members of parliament tomorrow, Thursday, June 23, to elect a new prime minister, at the end of the expectation that he will appoint interim prime minister Najib Mikati for a new term, according to political sources. to remain at the head of the executive At a time when the country is preparing for major financial and political challenges in the coming months.

The billionaire from the northern port city of Tripoli will have the support of more than 50 out of 128 legislators, including those of Iran-backed Hezbollah, its allied Amal movement and Sunni legislators.

Some sources have said they will nominate Mikati during talks with Lebanese President at the Baabda presidential palace tomorrow, and if Mikati gets the votes of the majority of MPs in consultation with the deputies, then President Aoun will nominate him for a government .

The formation of governments in Lebanon often takes months, as the main political factions spread portfolios and positions inside and outside the government.

In addition to thorny policies, Mikati will have to lead the country in implementing the economic recovery plan, which aims to secure a $ 3 billion rescue plan from the International Monetary Fund to address the country’s financial collapse.

Lebanon’s political and financial heavyweight factions remain divided over key issues, including how to address financial sector losses estimated at more than $ 70 billion.

In theory, Mikati’s new term would not last long. After Aoun’s term ends on October 31, parliament is expected to elect a new president who will appoint another Sunni Muslim figure to form a government.

Gebran Bassil, head of Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, announced earlier this month that he would not support Mikati, and the Lebanese Forces Party, a Christian faction strongly opposed to Hezbollah, announced on Wednesday that they would not nominate anyone.

The Lebanese Power Party has the largest party bloc in parliament, and a group of new independent parliamentarians is expected to vote for Nawaf Salam, a judge and former ambassador to the United Nations.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, the position of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni Muslim while retaining the presidency for Maronite Christians, and the position of parliamentary president for a Shiite Muslim.

Unlike a number of Lebanese leaders, Mikati does not come from a traditional political family, but he has built a successful business empire, serving three times as prime minister, most of them in times of crisis, including his last term, where he was. nominated in September 2021 after prominent politician Saad Hariri failed to form a government.

Parliamentary arrangement

The Lebanese parliament ended the organization of its internal house by completing the election of specialized parliamentary committees on Friday evening, June 10, following the election of its speaker, Nabih Berri, its deputy belonging to the “Free Patriotic Movement” Elias Bousaab . and his office staff The new president went through the approval of the structural financial and economic reforms referred to him, and the election of a new president of the republic at the end of the summer and early autumn.

But the adoption of the reform laws is the most urgent, because it is a condition for the submission of Lebanon’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund, reached on the seventh of last April, to its executive council to take effect, and according to which Lebanon receives the promised financial aid, that is, 750 million US dollars a year for four years, which it urgently needs to stop the course of the collapse in its economy and public finances.

The most prominent of these laws are the amendment of the Bank Secrecy Act, the current year’s budget, “Capital Control”, the restructuring of banks and the revival of the banking sector. Parliament has a task that seems like a dilemma in light of the political complexity that controls the political scene in Lebanon, which is the appointment of a prime minister amid divergent views on the personality that is an alternative to the provisional Prime Minister Najib Mikati may be.

They rejected Mikati

The “Free Patriotic Movement” bloc of representatives will meet with the “Lebanese Forces” bloc, the “exchangers” bloc and a few independents, each for his own reason, to exclude support for the babysitter’s candidacy -Premier Najib Mikati, who seems the very happy at this stage.

The “stream” rejects it because it does not meet the main demands it makes, especially the dismissal of the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, to appoint a replacement for him from the loyalists of the ruling presidential team, a demand that President Michel Aoun does not hesitate to say he will implement before leaving the presidency next fall, and the dismissal of Army Chief of Staff General Joseph Aoun as a possible candidate for the presidency of the republic to exclude and to make administrative appointments and diplomatic and judicial formations that Bassil requested from Mikati months ago, and those close to Bassil accused him of “dribbling through his government’s term of office to get its approval in the Council of Ministers to avoid various pretexts, after showing no reluctance to respond to them. ” .

Mikati’s main argument for rejecting this is that the forthcoming presidential term should not be obliged to appoint appointments to sensitive positions four months before the end of Aoun’s term. It comes from the control of administrative power.

Mikati also announced in advance that he had refused to sign a decree that President Aoun intended to issue Lebanese citizenship to a number of Syrian and Iraqi businessmen. Mikati did not hide his fear in a public statement to reiterate what was said in media reports that “the smell of brokers and commissions” smells like this naturalization decision.

As for the “Forces” party, its leader, Samir Geagea, has drawn up “specifications” for the next prime minister, in light of his deputies who do not rule out the idea of ​​not participating in the government, and it seemed whether these were conditions for Mikati, including that he set up an internal system for the work of the Council of Ministers, such as that of Parliament, so that no one can be a Minister to prevent a decision or decree, similar to what Finance Minister Youssef Khalil is doing today in the file of judicial formations, and to promise not to allocate any portfolio to any party or sect, and the most important thing at this stage is the energy portfolio, as if he promised a homogeneous government form and separate the prosecution from the ministry, and enjoy identity Sovereignty works to return the strategic decision to the government and obliges all parties not to exceed the ceiling of this decision, limiting the security and mi literary decision to the Lebanese army.

Geagea had previously announced its rejection of the national unity government formula, which called for a new majority composition, while the “Shiite duo” demanded according to the principle of “national partnership”, as described by “Hezbollah”, which believes that the elections does not produce a majority.

As for the 13 change deputies who have revolted against the political class and the ruling government since October 17, 2019, they believe it is better for a prime minister to come in who is independent of the political system accusing them of corruption , and they are demanding a specialist head for a government of specialists as well.

The four Kataeb party representatives meet them in this situation, and the new representatives prefer a figure close to their ideas that the revolutionaries previously proposed, such as the judge at the International Court of Justice and Lebanon’s former ambassador to the United Nations, dr. Nawaf Salam The latter informed them shortly after the election that he did not intend to accept the mission in light of the current political complications that would impose themselves on the occasion of the battle for the presidency.

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Mikati’s favorites

On the other hand, other well-balanced blocs also believe that the life of the next government should not exceed four and a half months, because it will be resigned as constitutional just to elect a president of the republic, and therefore there is no objection. to cut the stage by mentioning Mikati, because his government, on the one hand, has begun the steps of reforms required by the International Monetary Fund, and because it enjoys French acceptance and American no objection to the management of the deepening financial and economic crisis in a transitional period, and these blocs that have not yet publicly announced their options are Hezbollah, the Amal movement, the Progressive Socialist Party and a few independent Sunni representatives.

Some Arab countries following the Lebanese issue also implicitly adhere to this view due to the absence of alternatives at this stage, and because of their position to respond to the demands of the Arab Gulf states of solidarity with them in the face of Hezbollah his hostility towards them is recorded in his interest despite the party’s influence in the governing structure. This is in comparison to President Aoun’s biased positions with the party and his continued possession of his weapons.

Those who know Mikati’s fate point out that he has Sunni coverage of the leader of the “Future Movement” and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, with whom he did not stop despite the latter’s suspension of his traditional political work and his unwillingness to to run into. the parliamentary elections, as well as his relationship with former prime ministers Fouad Siniora and Tammam Salam. .

In light of these leaks, Mikati is satisfied with his wish, “that parliament will expedite the election of whom he deems appropriate, and that the formation of a government will be swift without conditions and complications facing any party facing the designated president. “

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