Last week, the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, announced that he will launch consultations with the parliament at the beginning of this week, in order to progress in the formation of a government. This pending issue is part of the plan outlined by France for the reformation of the country and the reception of the aid provided, following the August 4th port explosion.
“President Aoun has set Thursday, October 15, 2020, as the date for holding parliamentary consultations to assign a figure to form a new government,” his office said on Twitter. This date, set by Aoun for the start of parliamentary consultations, comes just two days before Lebanon marks the first anniversary of a nationwide protest movement demanding sweeping political reform.
After several attempts to form a government, collapsed after the resignation of the designated-PM Moustapha Adib, due to the conflicts between parties, the process seems to be restored and to advance towards a resolution of the current crisis.
On October 9, 2020, the former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, who resigned last year amid anti-government protests, says now that he is willing to return, after becoming more and more present in the past weeks, amid the crisis. “I am definitely a candidate” to head the next government, Hariri told Lebanese TV channel MTV, adding, “I will not close the door on the only hope left for Lebanon to stem this collapse”. He also added, “I am ready to conduct a round of political contacts during this week if all political parties still agree on the program” that was discussed with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron has made further aid conditional on Lebanon’s enacting sweeping political reforms. The French president was promised by Lebanon’s leaders a new cabinet would be formed by mid-September. Since the Beirut port blast, Western governments have stepped up pressure on Lebanese leaders to put in place a government ready to implement sweeping reforms and unlock much-needed aid.
“Hariri’s final decision to run for the post depends on the willingness of the parliamentary blocs he would consult with to provide political and economic guarantees without which the French initiative to stem Lebanon’s economic collapse would falter,” a source in the Future Bloc told the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. Moreover, the paper reported that Hariri will begin his consultations with former premiers Najib Mikati, Fouad Siniora, and Tamam Salam on the post-candidacy phase. Hariri will also consult with representatives of the Future Bloc and then start consultations early next week with the parliamentary blocs. His final decision to run for the post once again depends on the parliamentary blocs’ willingness to cooperate with him, a senior source in the Future Bloc said.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has welcomed Hariri’s decision, so did Head of the Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) Walid Jumblatt, who seems to be willing to overcome the slight differences and support his candidacy. Hezbollah, for its part, is studying its position and aims at avoiding any difference with its ally, Berri’s Amal Movement.