Lebanon’s new Nominated PM Najib Mikati Starts Consultation to Form New Government
Mikati is expected to meet with former prime ministers and political figures in order to talk about the formation of the coming government.
He was designated by Suleiman on Tuesday after he secured 68 votes in the parliamentary consultations to nominate new PM, while his opponent, the now former Pm Saad Hariri got 60 votes.
Mikati’s appointment came amid a “day of rage” by Hariri’s supporters who took to streets and attacked media crews and caused violent across Lebanon in protest of Hariri’s failure to secure enough votes in order to remain in the premiership post.
After he was nominated, Mikati, who is considered as a relative moderate, offered to cooperate with the various Lebanese political parties to confront major challenges facing the country.
As-Safir daily commented, in its edition on Wednesday, on the riots which was erupted across Lebanon on Tuesday as saying: “As the Future Movement’s day of rage came to an end yesterday, one might say that the smoke from burning tires and garbage dumpsters failed to hide the fact that Lebanon has entered a new political period. “
The daily also quoted informed sources as predicting that Mikati’s priority will be to try to convince former Hariri to join the national-unity government, and that if Hariri insists on refusing, Mikati will most likely form a government of technocrats.
National Struggle Front leader MP Walid Jumblatt said there was no need on Tuesday for a “day of rage”, stressing that he was not pressured by anybody.
In an interview with As-Safir published on Wednesday, Jumblatt said: “there was no need for a day of rage, but we needed a day in which the constitutional institutions and the democratic game should be respected.”
“No one can cancel the other, at the end there certainly would be a settlement and I agree with (Hezbollah Secretary General) Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in this stance.”
Jumblatt also praised Mikati as a man of moderation, saying: “he is a well known tycoon, and he has excellent Arabic and international relations.
Whether he came under pressure to nominate Mikati, Jumblatt said: “I haven’t come under pressure from anyone, neither from Syria, nor from Hezbollah. What I have done was that I agreed with my principles of respecting the geo-political situation, and with my August 2 return to my history, national concepts and the Taef agreement.”
He also criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on her “advices”. “We didn’t need in this period Clinton’s advices.”
For his part, Speaker Nabih Berri said that Hariri made a big mistake as he refused to nominate Mikati.
In an interview with As-Safir, Berri said: “Mikati has many qualities that make him the most appropriate (PM) for this stage,” denying rumors that the opposition imposed conditions on Mikati.
“Mikati won the highest percentage of Sunni votes in Lebanon” in the 2009 parliamentary elections, Berri added as he stressed that Mikati is not Hezbollah’s candidate.
The speaker also called for “a national salvation” cabinet, but added that he does not reject a technocratic cabinet.
An-Nahar daily reported that Berri have said he “would have no problem if the other side were to obtain the obstructing third or half of cabinet members, because the most important thing is the ministerial statement and [the other side’s] commitment regarding disputed issues, not to mention the emphasis on resolving all issues.”
On the other hand, Al-Akhbar quoted sources as saying that Hariri was trying yesterday to avoid having his side become a minority and save face by obtaining at least half of all votes. He thus reportedly tried to convince many MPs to vote for him in return for many incentives.
In this respect, the daily continued, Hariri reportedly asked Minister Mohammad Safadi to vote for him in order to secure a tie in return for withdrawing in Safadi’s favor and nominating him as head of a consensus government.