Everything You Need to Know About the Person They Are Proposing as Prime Minister - The961

Everything You Need to Know About the Person They Are Proposing as Prime Minister

Is this man really the best choice for our country?

Late at night on Thursday, November 14, news began circulating in Lebanon that a nominee for the Prime Minister position has been agreed upon by the major political parties in the country.

The alleged nominee is Mohammad Al-Safadi; a businessman from Tripoli who had previously served as minister of finance, minister of economy and trade, in addition to many other positions in the Lebanese government since the year 2000.

Al-Safadi was born in Tripoli to a family of businesspeople. He graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1968 with a degree in business administration. He has many investments in the Arab World, especially in Saudi Arabia, as well as in Europe. 

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He also chairs the steering committee of the Middle East Regional Technical Assistance Committee (METAC) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He is also the head of the Lebanese-German Parliamentary Friendship Committee and a member of the Economy Commission in the parliament.

He served as the minister of public works and transport from 2005 to 2008 and as acting energy and water minister in 2007 and 2008. Also in 2008, he was the minister of economy and trade of the cabinet headed by Fouad Siniora.

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Al-Safadi was re-elected as a member of parliament in 2009 and was part of the March 14 alliance. Safadi was also appointed the minister of economy and trade to the cabinet of Saad Al-Hariri in 2009, and in 2011 he served his last position in the government as minister of finance in the cabinet headed by Najib Mikati.

Mohammad Al-Safadi's nomination was met with anger from Lebanese protesters and people; many demonstrators from his hometown Tripoli marched towards his house following the news and expressed their dissatisfaction with his nomination for Prime Minister of Lebanon.

This is due to the man being subject to a lot of controversies ranging from political corruption to alleged bribery and the involvement in an arms deal.

He is known to own investments in Beirut's leisure and entertainment destination, Zaituna Bay, which has been occupied by demonstrators for several days now. During his three years as minister of works and public transport, he committed multiple infringements on public marine properties by investing in and building unpermitted facilities on the port of Barbara (Jbeil) and the famed Zaituna Bay.

In detail, Al-Safadi owns most shares in STOW Beirut Water Front, the company that, in a joint venture with Solidere, created Zaytouna Bay under suspicious conditions.

For rent, Al-Safadi allegedly pays 2,500 LBP ($1.65) per cubic meter annually in Zaituna Bay and then puts it up for restaurant owners and investors to rent for the annual price of around $10,000.

In December 2006, The Guardian reported that he was involved in the Al Yamama arms deal, which took place between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, through an anonymous offshore company called Poseidon.

The company was allegedly used to transfer money to Safadi, who was working for Prince Turki bin Nasser, a Saudi royal and an air force officer at that time.

"Another billionaire Saudi middleman was named last night in the Serious Fraud Office's controversial Saudi arms deal inquiry, according to potential witnesses. The SFO is seeking information about any Swiss bank accounts belonging to Mohammad Safadi, a Lebanese politician who has acted for relatives of Prince Sultan, crown prince of Saudi Arabia." ~The Guardian, 2 December 2006.

The nomination of Mohammad Al-Safadi was allegedly agreed upon last night by the major political players in Lebanon, including current caretaker Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri.

Mustaqbal Web, a Hariri-owned news website, said a meeting between Hariri, Ali Hassan Khalil of the Amal Movement and Hussein Al-Khalil of Hezbollah had discussed recommending Safadi for the post.

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