Today, Thursday, the binding parliamentary consultations conducted by Lebanese President Michel Aoun reappointed Najib Mikati to form the government, for the fourth time in his political career, after a long day that ended without any surprises, after which the struggle for composition and the struggle for ministerial portfolios began.
This stage is expected to be extended, and with it the handling of matters, until the end of the presidential term at the end of October, unless there is a settlement between the traditional parties that mainly Aoun’s team and his son-in-law, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil, who adheres mainly in the Ministries of Energy and Foreign Affairs, as is the case with Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri, who refuses to give up the Ministry of Finance.
A confirmation of the strength of political power
In a new test, the political authority over the fourth right after the parliamentary elections confirms its strength and the difficulty of breaking its ranks and withdrawing decision-making positions from them, especially in light of the proliferation of opposition and change forces, whether at the level of the presidency of the House of Representatives and its representative or parliamentary committees, and today the government, despite what has been proposed by it.The election results are, in the first place, a resounding loss for Hezbollah and its allies.
Mikati was appointed for the third time on 26 July 2021 and was able to form his government, which included 23 ministers on 10 September, due to political consensus and the distribution of ministerial portfolios to traditional parties, especially the “greasy” parties. such as energy, foreign affairs, defense, economy, public works and justice, which led in the first place to the trio “Free Patriotic Movement” – “Amal Movement” – “Hezbollah”, while Mikati held on to his deputy, Saadeh . al-Shami, and Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi mainly.
Mikati’s government, which won the confidence of 85 delegates, held its first session on September 13, approved its ministerial statement on September 16 and decided to use the slogan “Together to the rescue.” The Electricité du Liban (EDL) to raise an increase in the number of feeding hours, which Lebanon did not “enjoy”, and formed a negotiating committee with the International Monetary Fund headed by Deputy Mikati and the membership of the Ministers of Finance and Economics, and two experts representing the Presidency of the Republic.
The government also took the road to lift subsidies on fuel and most medicines before holding a session on 12 October 2021, after which it entered a period of disruption that lasted approximately 3 months due to the threat of the ministers of Hezbollah and the Amal movement to resign in the event that the hand of the forensic investigator does not explode a port Beirut judge Tariq Al-Bitar, who MPs Ali Hassan Khalil and Ghazi Zuaiter in the sued, not once, before the government crisis worsened. following the statement by the then Minister of Information, George Qardahi (affiliated with the Marada movement led by Suleiman Franjieh, an ally of Hezbollah) about the war in Yemen, describing it as “absurd”. “Commercial” restrictions were quickly imposed by a number of Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, and the withdrawal of ambassadors and the severance of diplomatic relations on 27 October.
On December 3, Qardahi resigned after holding on for about 38 days with his decision to stay in his position, with the support of Hezbollah, the Amal movement and the Marada movement, which expressed their refusal to stand before Saudi Arabia. pressure to bend.
The move by the former Information Minister is linked to a wish from Mikati, and a confirmation that there are French guarantees to intervene in the line of the crisis and resolve it, knowing that diplomatic relations recovered last April and resumed, before the parliamentary elections, and was accompanied by extensive meetings by the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Walid.Bukhari with the Lebanese political forces, noting that a deputy minister for Qardahi, Ziad al-Makari, last March was appointed, after Franjieh withdrew the decision. to nominate.
Among the reasons for the “return” called for are the security measures taken by the Lebanese Ministry of Home Affairs in terms of confronting drug smuggling operations, in the first place, to the Kingdom, which accuses Hezbollah of plaguing this plague to its territory, as well as the confrontation of the activities and conferences carried out by parties opposed to Saudi Arabia.
Hezbollah and the Amal movement decided last January to release the government, and it resumed its sessions on the 24th, and witnessed the adoption of the draft budget law for the year 2021, which was opposed by Parliament in a step placed inside. the framework of election popular investment ahead of the parliamentary elections held on 15 May, taking into account that MPs and ministers belong to the same club of traditional parties, while diplomatic relations resumed last April.
The two are accused of continuing to obstruct investigations into the explosion of the port of Beirut, either through the lawsuits to which they are turning and the “fraudulent” maneuvers adopted by them, or through the Minister of Finance’s refusal to ‘ sign a decree issuing judges of the Cassation Courts, which keeps the obstruction going for many months.
Could not contain the crash
At a time when the Mikati government was able, as promised, to hold the parliamentary elections in a timely manner, despite the shortcomings that affected it, and when it entered the stage of business, it was not in capable of the collapse that continued at its rapid pace, especially in terms of the upward trajectory evidenced by the dollar exchange rate on the black market.For the first time in the country’s history, it crossed the 37,000 pound threshold.
This is in addition to exacerbating the bread and flour crisis, by “flying” fuel prices and reaching the level of petrol and diesel up to the 700,000 pound line, which has had repercussions on various sectors, especially the private generators who owners benefit from the disruption of the electricity supply in Lebanon completely to increase the hours of rationing At the same time an increase in the tariff, which exceeded one million pounds for the five-ampere, in addition to the repercussions on the level of bread prices, food and public transport, while the Mikati government is trying to breathe a sigh of relief by Lebanese, Arab and foreign tourists during the summer season with a remarkable rise to Lebanon, which would introduce dollars to the country during this period.
The Mikati government, despite its choice of Firas Abyad as an “independent” health minister who gained “fame” during the Corona period, could not find a solution to the drug crisis, and even exacerbated it, especially in the field of cancer medicine and incurable diseases that are still missing, while the Minister has been subjected to a series of criticisms and attacks on how His handling of this health disaster, which is also accompanied by chaos in terms of hospital bills and smuggling and sale of medicines on the black market.
Prior to his resignation, the Mikati government announced the increase in the telecommunications tariff, and also approved the recovery plan or what was called the strategy of progress in the financial sector, with the registration of the Ministers of Public Works Ali Hamiyah, Labor Mustafa Bayram, Agriculture Abbas Hajj Hassan, and Culture Muhammad Al-Murtada, i.e. those affiliated with Hezbollah and the Amal movement, Their objection came amid the reservations of the Minister of Education and Higher Education Abbas Al-Halabi, who affiliated is with the Progressive Socialist Party.
The government of Mikati and his deputy, His Excellency Al-Shami, in the first place proceeded with financial plans drawn up in the context of the protection of banks and their judicial acquittal, and the Governor of the Central Bank, Riad Salameh, and damage to depositors, knowing that the banks in the era of this government rose up and went on strike in protest of the judicial decisions issued against them, in addition to rebelling against government plans within the framework of The Conflict between officials and banks, in terms of responsibility for losses and financial collapse.
The government of Mikati and its deputy, Saadeh Al-Shami, in the first place proceeded with financial plans drawn up in the context of the protection of banks and their judicial acquittal.
It was also attacked over the Capital Control Bill, which Mikati’s deputy, Saadeh Al-Shami, submitted in more than one form, but he was quickly rejected by President Nabih Berri.
Last April, the Lebanese delegation commissioned by the Council of Ministers to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund Mission reached a preliminary agreement on an economic and financial redress program under the name of the “Extended Credit Facility” for a period of four years, with a request to obtain 2.1 million Special Drawing Rights, i.e. the equivalent of about $ 3 billion, knowing that this step has been met with the general fears of harsh international conditions that could be imposed on Lebanon which requires measures that only the Lebanese people and the middle and poor classes will require will pay for.
It was noteworthy that Mikati’s statement before the major consultations on the Syrian refugee dossier (the Lebanese authorities insist on describing them as displaced persons), called on the international community to work with Lebanon to bring the refugees to their land to return. Lebanon by legal means through the firm application of Lebanese laws.
The harmony between the ministers of Mikati’s government was not great, as the sittings witnessed many debates and verbal confrontations, the most recent of which was the emergence of the conflict between Mikati and Energy Minister Walid Fayyad, who Basil movement was affiliated, while the issue of demarcation of the sea borders in the south came to the fore in the caretaker stage in which the Mikati government entered the file. Amid talk of a settlement by the political authority in which it relinquishes a large area of its oil and water wealth in favor of the enemy, in exchange for the decision on many files on which the United States of America must decide, especially electricity and the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, while the settlement was also linked to the lifting of US sanctions on President Aoun’s son-in-law Gebran Bassil.