December 4th, 2019: The office of Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced today that the binding parliamentary consultations to designate the next Prime Minister of Lebanon will take place next week, on Monday, December 9.
The supposed initial date of the consultations was allegedly postponed after being specified by the president during the previous month, as some local media outlets had reported in November.
So far, the first contender for the position seems to be Samir Khatib; the Lebanese engineer and businessman whose name was proposed in late November. Commenting on the news, Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi said that “This means that a new dawn is about to emerge in Lebanon.”
The current caretaker Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, who happens to be a close friend of Khatib, recently announced his support of Khatib’s candidacy, and his unwillingness to head the upcoming cabinet.
On another note, President Aoun’s office responded to the statements that the three former premiers Fouad Siniora, Tammam Salam, and Najib Mikati accusing the president of violating the Constitution and the Taif Accord.
The trio issued a statement today in which they condemned President Aoun’s “Grave breach of the Taif Agreement and the Constitution in letter and spirit.” They referred to his act of designating a candidate for Prime Minister and calling for the consultations before referring to the parliament to discuss the candidate.
They were appalled by the “blatant attack on the powers of the deputies by naming the Prime Minister-designate through parliamentary consultations binding the President of the Republic to conduct them and their results, and then attacking the powers of the Prime Minister when it is completed.”
In response to the accusations, the Lebanese presidency, in turn, issued a statement saying that “Discussions held by President Michel Aoun do not violate the Lebanese Constitution or the Taif Accord,” pointing to the fact that the Lebanese Constitution “does not provide a time limit to hold the binding consultations with parliamentary blocs.”
It also added< "If the former premiers had known the consequences of hastiness in forming the new government, they would not have issued such a statement."
As nationwide demonstrations continue in Lebanon for the 49th day in a row, all eyes are set on next Monday’s parliamentary consultations to either finally release some of the increasing tension in the country, or further add to it.
Yesterday, December 3rd, groups of protesters rallied in front of Samir Khatib’s residence, expressing their distrust towards him being the next Prime Minister of the country. Similarly, demonstrators across Lebanon resorted to blocking roads and chanting in protest to Khatib’s candidacy.
While protesters insist on the reformation of the entire Lebanese political system and the formation of a technocratic government, no promises have been made in that regard from the other side, which seems to be planning a techno-political cabinet.
Protestors arriving from Hamra and joining those on the Ring. Some closing the road. Chanting against the proposed new PM Samir el Khatib #happeningnow #beirut #lebanonprotests #سمير_الخطيب #ثورة_لبنان pic.twitter.com/PsJmNyvcG1
— Menaal Munshey (@MenaalM) December 3, 2019