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Consultations to Appoint New PM Kick Off, Future Movement and Aoun Support Hariri | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Ex-PM Saad Hariri heads a meeting of the Future bloc in Beirut on Tuesday. NNA

Beirut-The Presidential Palace in Baabda will open its doors on Wednesday for the binding parliamentary consultations to appoint a new premier, already settled to be former Prime Minister and head of the Future Movement MP Saad Hariri.

While most parties expect the path of consultations not to face any obstacles, the Lebanese are eying the cabinet lineup.

The Future Movement admits it would be cautious from obstacles that might be placed by the so-called Hezbollah if the party choses to return to the policy of disruption which it adopted when dealing with the presidential file in the past two and a half years, member of the Future parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Hajjar told Asharq Al-Awsat.

Also, member of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Alain Aoun did not rule out the possibility of facing some difficulties in the cabinet formation process.

“The appointment will not be difficult, however, some obstacles could emerge in the cabinet lineup,” Aoun said, adding that President Michel Aoun, who was elected on Monday, would exert efforts to include all parties in the new government.

Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat that Hariri already guaranteed the 65 votes needed for his appointment as the country’s premier.

When asked whether the two Shi’ite parties, Hezbollah and Speaker Nabih Berri would obstruct the nomination of Hariri, Aoun said: “The issue would be treated If we ever reach that point. We ignore the final position of Hezbollah but even if the party does not endorse Hariri, its stance will not affect the nomination process.”

Last month, the secretary general of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah said his party is not opposed to the nomination of Hariri as premier, a position stipulating that the party might facilitate the appointment of Hariri without voting for him.

However, Berri’s stand remains blurred, particularly that the speaker did not rule out moving to the opposition ranks during the new era.

A surprising development was also noticed when the program of the consultations was issued, placing Berri’s meeting with the President as the last date on Thursday, contrary to the normal rules according to which the president should hold the first round of consultations with the speaker.

“Parliament had placed the appointments, and I believe that Berri had asked that his meeting (with the president) be the last,” Aoun said.

Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting set for Berri was not linked to politics but rather to the speaker’s security.

Hajjar told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Hezbollah has never nominated Hariri for the premiership,” expecting Berri to nominate Hariri during the two-day binding parliamentary consultations.

Meanwhile, the Future bloc announced its nomination of Hariri.

The bloc said it looked forward to positive results in the cooperation between President Michel Aoun and Hariri, in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Taif Accord.

Also on Tuesday, the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc announced through head of the Free Patriotic Movement and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil its support for the nomination of Hariri, a stance also repeatedly expressed by the Lebanese Forces.

Following the weekly meeting of the bloc, Bassil said: “After nominating head of Future Movement Saad Hariri to the premiership by the Future Bloc, we agree on such nomination which is a normal stance. All our votes will be in favor of Hariri and we will remain by his side across throughout difficulties he faces. We accept whoever accepts us and reject the ones who reject us.”