The Lebanese Presidency scheduled earlier today the upcoming Monday as a date to the binding parliamentary consultations to designate a new prime minister; an action the revolution has been waiting for since Prime Minister Saad Hariri had resigned from his post on Oct. 29 under the pressure of nationwide protests against the entire ruling class.
The President’s office announced the news on their official twitter account: “The Presidency of the Republic sets next Monday date for parliamentary consultations binding to nominate the President-designate to form a government.”
رئاسة الجمهورية تحدّد يوم الإثنين المقبل موعداً للاستشارات النيابية المُلزمة لتسمية الرئيس المكلّف لتشكيل الحكومة
— Lebanese Presidency (@LBpresidency) December 4, 2019
Last month, Samir Khatib was one of the most trending candidates proposed to be named prime minister in parliamentary consultations. Since then different opinions have been circulating between the ministers who agreed on Khatib and between the Lebanese people who refused the decision angrily.
Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri had previously named Khatib to replace him in the new government. After meeting on Tuesday with progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt, Hariri made some remarks that he supports Khatib’s appointment but “some details remain.” He declared that his Mustaqbal Movement will nominate experts to the government, not politicians.
However, according to Al-Jadeed TV, President Aoun’s move was countered by former Prime Ministers Tammam Salam, Najib Mikati, and Fouad Siniora who released a statement on Tuesday accusing President Aoun of breaching the constitution and the Taef Agreement.
رؤساء الحكومات السابقون يتهمون رئيس الجمهورية بخرق الدستور واتفاقية الطائف #لبنان @SalamTammam @SinioraFuad @Najib_Mikati @LBpresidency https://t.co/jz8TjvX1PR
— قنـــاة الجـــديـــد (@ALJADEEDNEWS) December 4, 2019
According to the Arabic News, the three former premiers described in a statement as a “constitutional heresy” the action of “President Aoun, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Foreign Minister in the caretaker government Gebran Bassil to nominate a possible prime minister and hold consultations among the political parties to nominate him before officially calling for parliamentary consultations.”
They lambasted the infringement of the prerogatives of MPs to appoint a Prime Minister during the binding consultations and undermining the prerogatives of the appointed prime minister in the establishment of a new government following the necessary consultations.
They also advanced that this is an “unprecedented attack on the prime minister’s position and constitutes a serious crime against the unity of the Lebanese people and the provisions of the constitution.”
In response, the president’s office issued a statement that President Aoun’s consultations “do not constitute a violation of the constitution, nor a violation of the Taif Agreement.”
The president’s statement added that delaying the consultations was intended to “ensure wide support for the prime minister-designate, which will facilitate the government formation for him.”
While the political arena clashes, the protesters have been refusing the decision of naming Samir Khatib as Prime minister from days until now through blocking roads and chanting against the proposed new PM as well as gathering in front of his flat in Beirut.
A while ago and after announcing the scheduled consultations, people took to streets blocking roads and burning wheels, criticizing the whole consultations that more likely -and as different media sources reported- will result in a techno-political government led by prominent contractor Samir Khatib.
The Lebanese Presidency’s announcement came against continued protests in the country. Several anger posts are trending on social media with people criticizing the entire political class for alleged corruption and, in recent times, posted and tweeted against the naming of Samir Khatib as the future PM.
Isn’t it odd that a simple Google search for “prominent” contractor Samir Khatib, the consensus pick for PM, yields barely any relevant results? Has he no online presence? How is the public supposed to be informed about him? Or is the point now to suggest obscure names? #Lebanon
— Edy Semaan (@EdySemaan) December 4, 2019
خاين يلي بفوت بحكومة شغلتها تكون شاهدة زور بالنيابة عن مجموعة من القتلى والسرّاقين على انهيار البلد وسرقة أموالهم.
— cynthia ghsn (@CynthiaGhsn) December 3, 2019
يا حضرة #الوزير إنت بعضمة لسانك قلت على الإعلام إنو شركة #سمير_الخطيب “أخدت” من دولة #السنيورة ٥٠٠ مليون بشكل مشبوه و١٣٠ مليون على دراسة لم تنفذ… وعِدْ ولحقني…
حرصاً عليك، ووفاء لمن خلفك، وضّح للناس شو اللي تغير:
رد المصريات؟ أو طلعت معلوماتك غلط؟ او لقيتو شي حل تالت؟؟
— Jean Aziz (@JeanAziz1) December 4, 2019
Moreover, and as a result of the deteriorating conditions, the protesters also announced a Sunday of Anger in all squares, roads, and in front of all the politicians’ houses. “We have nothing to lose!” They stated.
Public announcement from the #LebaneseRevolution
SUNDAY OF ANGER all over #Lebanon in all squares and roads
We have nothing to loose! #احد_الغضب #جسر_الرينغ #لبنان_يتنفض #الدولار #لبنان #لبنان_يثور #سمير_الخطيب #بيروت #كلن_يعني_كلن #LebanonProtests pic.twitter.com/lfRJPZeVlc
— Lebanese Bonkers (@BonkersLebanese) December 4, 2019
Since the resignation of the government on the 29th of October people have been on the streets for weeks demanding these consultations take place as soon as possible. President Aoun had previously called for consultations late last month, but then announced they would be delayed.