Lebanon’s president postpones talks on nominating new prime minister

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has postponed by a week consultations aimed at choosing a prime minister to form a new government to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis since its civil war. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 October 2020

Lebanon’s president postpones talks on nominating new prime minister

  • Aoun had been due to hold the consultations on Thursday
  • He was expected to assess whether Saad Al-Hariri could rally support of a majority of parliamentarians to try to form a new government

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has postponed by a week consultations aimed at choosing a prime minister to form a new government to tackle the country’s worst economic crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war, the presidency said on Wednesday.
Aoun had been due to hold the consultations on Thursday and was expected to assess whether Sunni Muslim leader Saad Al-Hariri could rally support of a majority of parliamentarians to try to form a new government.
However two prominent Christian politicians had indicated in the last 24 hours that they had reservations about nominating Hariri, who resigned as prime minister a year ago after mass protests.
The country has plunged into financial turmoil and seen the value of the Lebanese pound collapse. The COVID-19 pandemic and a huge explosion at Beirut’s port two months ago compounded the crisis and pushed many Lebanese into poverty.
French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a roadmap that could unlock billions of dollars of international aid, conditional on major reforms which Hariri pledged to support.
The Lebanese presidency said Aoun was delaying the planned consultations on nominating a new premier until Oct. 22, citing requests “from some parliamentary blocs due to difficulties emerging that need to be solved.”
However, the head of the Shiite Amal party and parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri opposes any delay in the consultations, his office said in a statement released minutes after the presidency’s announcement.
Earlier on Wednesday Samir Geagea, whose Lebanese Forces party has the second biggest Christian bloc in parliament, said the party would not nominate anyone to be the new prime minister at official consultations to fill the post.
On Tuesday Gebran Bassil, who heads the country’s largest Christian bloc, the Free Patriotic Movement and its allies, criticized Hariri for seeking to form a government pledged to implement Macron’s plan.


Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

Updated 28 November 2020

Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

  • At the end of talks, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions”
  • They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible”

TANGIER: More than 120 Libyan deputies pledged Saturday in Morocco to “end the divisions” that undermine their country, starting by convening the elected parliament as soon as they return home.
The House of Representatives has not met for two years, and Libya has been wracked by violence and chaos since the toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Two rival administrations have been vying for control of the country — the Government of National Accord and an eastern administration backed by part of the elected parliament.
The latter is deeply divided, with sessions taking place in parallel in the east and west.
At the end of five days of talks in Tangier, Morocco, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged on Saturday to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions” that undermine Libyan institutions.
They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible,” and that all members of the House of Representatives would meet in session “as soon as they return” to Libya.
The session will take place in Ghadames, a desert oasis near Libya’s borders with both Algeria and Tunisia.
Ghadames is considered to be far from the centers of power.
“Having 123 deputies at the same table is in itself a success,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said.
“Libya needs a House of Representatives that plays its role... The next meeting in Libya will have a great impact on political dialogue,” he said.
The talks come at a time of increasing moves to break the deadlock in the country, which has Africa’s biggest oil reserves.
In mid-November, a UN-sponsored political dialogue forum in Tunis agreed to hold elections on December 24, 2021, but not on who will lead the transition.