BEIRUT: Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Thursday that he plans to include “competent figures representing the voice of the street” in the new government.
Ten days after Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government resigned in the wake of the Beirut port blast, Aoun is yet to set a date for parliamentary consultations to name a leader for the next government.
In a tweet on Thursday, he added that it is not clear if talks will take place soon.
Diab’s government stepped down amid widespread public anger following the port explosion that devastated Beirut, killing 180 people and causing widespread damage.
Opponents of Diab’s leadership claim it was a “shadow government” dominated by Hezbollah that failed to carry out reforms demanded by the international community.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is fighting to restore Saad Hariri as prime minister.
Hariri’s government of national unity resigned in October, 2019, after violent protests broke out amid claims of growing government corruption.
Protesters called for a transitional government to implement reforms demanded by the global community to help Lebanon overcome its economic crisis.
Aoun and Berri held a meeting two days ago in which the parliament speaker suggested Hariri return to the leadership.
MPs have reported Berri saying that he considers Hariri “the perfect man for the stage.”
Berri also claims that he has Hezbollah’s backing for Hariri.
Sources say he is insisting on a political government, not a technocratic one, and wants Hariri to provide it with an acceptable cover in light of the political and economic crises facing Lebanon.
However, the dispute between Hariri and the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) worsened during his time as prime minister, bringing an end to the relationship between the two parties.
French President Emmanuel Macron told Lebanese leaders during his visit to Beirut two days after the port explosion that he would return to Lebanon on Sept. 1 to ensure reforms were being carried out.
He called on officials to “assume their responsibilities during the coming weeks, launch reforms and form a national unity government.”
Future Movement leader Mustafa Alloush told Arab News: “The conditions for Hariri heading any future government have not changed. What is required is an independent government that convinces the international community of the possibility of helping Lebanon and persuades the Lebanese of its ability to rescue (the country).
“The government must enjoy wide and exceptional powers in order to be able to be productive and eliminate the burden of obstruction that parliament poses.”
While Berri and Hariri are expected to continue discussions, Alloush could not predict a date for any meeting.
“There is a positive endeavor that Berri is undertaking and he has presented a government project to Aoun,” Alloush said.
He said that “the political dispute with the FPM continues. What is required is that the FPM — and not Hariri — changes.”