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Hariri Guarantees his Nomination as Lebanon’s Prime Minister | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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President Michel Aoun meets with ex-PM Saad Hariri and a delegation from Future Movement at Baabda Palace. NNA

Beirut-The first day of binding parliamentary consultations ended on Wednesday with a major support for Future Movement leader Saad Hariri’s nomination for the post of prime minister.

Eighty six out of 90 lawmakers who met with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace nominated Hariri.

The former prime minister is expected to be officially tasked with forming the new government following the second and final day of consultations on Thursday.

But all eyes are on the so-called Hezbollah and Speaker Nabih Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc.

MP Michel Moussa, who is a member of Berri’s bloc, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the decision of the Development and Liberation bloc is independent from that of Hezbollah.

But Hezbollah lawmaker Ali Fayyad said: “Berri and we are on the same government boat.”

Asked whether there would be a constitutional barrier if the two Shi’ite blocs refused to name Hariri, Moussa said the constitution is clear that a person should garner at least 65 votes at the binding consultations to guarantee his nomination.

As the two sides continue their consultations on their choice of prime minister, information emerged that Berri, who is also the head of the Amal Movement, would likely nominate Hariri and that Hezbollah would not name him as in previous cabinet formation attempts.

Observers said that the speaker will ask for important portfolios – such as the finance and the energy ministries – as a price for his consent to have representatives in the government.

Sources told the Central News Agency that Berri’s bloc would form an opposition front if Hariri failed to meet his demands. In doing so, the speaker would guarantee a Hezbollah decision to side with him in the opposition.

But Hezbollah prefers to be part of the government.

Berri had vehemently opposed Aoun’s election to the presidency. His bloc met on Wednesday but announced that no decision was made on who it would name as prime minister.

It decided to leave the issue to Berri.