Future Movement officials have recently declared that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri will not bow to pressure from a concerted campaign “launched by his opponents aimed at forcing him to step down.”
The leaked audio of President Michel Aoun accusing Hariri of lying has deepened a crisis of confidence between the two leaders and heated up political tension in a country enduring a series of multiple crises.
Aoun’s accusation came just a day after his son-in-law and leader of FPM, Gebran Bassil, launched an intense campaign against Hariri, blaming him for the country’s worst economic crisis in decades and saying he could not be trusted to implement reforms.
“Definitely, if Saad Hariri does not change the criteria he is using in the government formation, which denies veto power to any party, and if Hariri does not accept a government in which Aoun and Bassil are allowed to name Christian ministers and get veto power, they are definitely working to force him to resign or step down,” Future Movement MP Mohammad Hajjar told The Daily Star.
Hajjar added that Hariri is “as determined as ever to form a Cabinet of nonpartisan and competent specialists who have integrity without granting a blocking third veto power to Bassil or others in line with the French initiative.”
However, former MP Mustafa Alloush of the Future Movement noted that Hariri’s mission is extremely stalled and that the government formation may be entirely blocked, as solutions are not within reach, at least for now.
“It is impossible to find common ground between President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri as long as Bassil visits the presidential palace, whispering to obstruct the government formation and the state as a whole,” Alloush said in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Anbaa.
Despite broken ties with Hariri, the Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Joumblatt called the premier-designate to express solidarity after Aoun accused him of lying.
During the phone conversation, Joumblatt affirmed his “absolute rejection of the campaign to which the premiership’s position is subjected.”
Joumblatt also condemned the “personal insults that targeted Prime Minister Hariri despite some casual political differences.”
Yet, even after the negative fallout, the FPM’s parliamentary bloc headed by Bassil called on Hariri to resume his contacts with Aoun to agree on the formation of a “reform-minded government.”
These tactics are alleged to be a scheme to get rid of Hariri. This “game of thrones” translates into the crisis-ridden country witnessing a future without a working government on sight.
These politicians stalling the formation of a government while Lebanon sinks further seem to feel untouched by the crises wrecking the country, as they add their own to the mix.