Lebanon's Hariri reemerges as PM candidate as Khatib withdraws




Lebanon
Lebanon's Hariri reemerges as PM candidate as Khatib withdraws  

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon's leading Sunni Muslim politician, Saad al-Hariri, re-emerged as a candidate for prime minister on Sunday when businessman Samir Khatib withdrew his candidacy to lead a government that must tackle an acute economic crisis.

Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29, prompted by mass protests against an entire political class blamed for state corruption and steering Lebanon into the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

Under the country's power sharing system, the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim. Hariri has continued to govern in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is named.

After Hariri quit, talks to agree a new cabinet became mired in divisions between Hariri, who is aligned with Western and Gulf Arab states, and adversaries including the Iran-backed Shi'ite group Hezbollah. Last month Hariri officially withdrew his candidacy to be prime minister.

A consensus on Khatib appeared to form last week among the main parties, including Hariri. But Khatib failed to win enough backing from the Sunni Muslim establishment for the position.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian, Lebanon's most senior Sunni cleric, told Khatib during a meeting on Sunday that he backed Hariri, Khatib said after the meeting.

"I learned ... that as a result of meetings and consultations and contacts with the sons of the (Sunni) Islamic sect, agreement was reached on nominating Saad al-Hariri to form the coming government," Khatib said.

Khatib later went to see Hariri at his Beirut residence where he announced the withdrawal of his candidacy.

There was no immediate statement from Hariri.

Formal consultations to designate the new prime minister have been scheduled for Monday at the presidential palace. President Michel Aoun must designate the candidate with the greatest level of support among Lebanon's 128 lawmakers.

Political sources said it was not immediately clear if the consultations would go ahead as planned.

But if they did, it would now seem logical for lawmakers in Hariri's Future Movement to nominate him again, Future Movement official Mustafa Alloush told Reuters, noting the absence of any other candidate.

In recent days, in his role as caretaker prime minister, Hariri appealed to friendly foreign states to help Lebanon secure credit lines for essential imports as the country grapples with a hard currency shortage.

He has said he would return as prime minister only if he could lead a government of specialist ministers which he believes would satisfy protesters and be best placed to deal with the economic crisis and attract foreign aid.

But this demand has been rejected by groups including Hezbollah and its ally Aoun, a Maronite Christian. Both say the government must include politicians.


(Reporting by Tom Perry and Samar Hassan in Cairo; Editing by Edmund Blair, Timothy Heritage and Peter Graff)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Lebanon
Lebanon's allies pledge major resources to help rebuild Beirut after deadly blast
  • World
  • 2020-08-09 17:16:40Z

Countries including Britain pledged to donate "major resources" to help rebuild Beirut after Tuesday's blast, saying any aid will be "directly delivered to the Lebanese population" amid growing anger over government corruption. The push for aid came as Emmanuel Macron, the French president, warned that the future of the nation hung in the balance in the wake of the explosion, which demolished half of its capital city. "The August 4 explosion sounded like a thunderclap. The time for awakening and action has come," Mr Macron said, opening the international aid summit. Political and economic reforms, he added, would allow "the international community to act effectively...

World pledges aid for Lebanon, to be delivered
World pledges aid for Lebanon, to be delivered 'directly' to population
  • World
  • 2020-08-09 17:11:33Z

World leaders on Sunday pledged "timely, sufficient" emergency aid for disaster-struck Lebanon which they vowed to deliver "directly" to a population reeling from the deadly port blast in Beirut. Fifteen government leaders including US President Donald Trump took part in a virtual conference hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN, pledging solidarity with the Lebanese people and promising to muster "major resources" in the coming days and weeks. "The participants agreed that their assistance should be timely, sufficient and consistent with the needs of the Lebanese people, well-coordinated under the leadership of the United Nations, and directly delivered to the Lebanese...

The Latest: Qatar emir says Lebanon can
The Latest: Qatar emir says Lebanon can't recover on its own
  • World
  • 2020-08-09 12:58:55Z

The emir of energy-rich Qatar has said that the Beirut blast is a "dire circumstance" that Lebanon cannot get over on its own. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made the statement Sunday during a pledging conference for the crisis. Sheikh Tamim said that "strengthening national unity" was needed in Lebanon after the blast.

Beirut explosion bares pitfalls of sending aid to Lebanon
Beirut explosion bares pitfalls of sending aid to Lebanon
  • World
  • 2020-08-09 11:41:07Z

Hospitals and schools, then shattered and bent water pipes, then the crater that once was Lebanon's port. The rebuilding needs of Lebanon are immense, but so is the question of how to ensure the millions of dollars promised in international aid is not diverted in a country notorious for missing money, invisible infrastructure projects and its refusal to open the books. Sunday's donor teleconference is hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, who was mobbed last week by tearful victims of the Beirut ammonium nitrate explosion begging him to ensure the corruption they blame for the blast that devastated the capital does not profit from its destruction.

Lebanon information minister resigns in wake of deadly blast
Lebanon information minister resigns in wake of deadly blast
  • World
  • 2020-08-09 10:23:24Z

Lebanon's information minister resigned on Sunday as the country grapples with the aftermath of the devastating blast that ripped through the capital and raised public anger to new levels. The resignation comes as public anger is mounting against the ruling elite, blamed for the chronic mismanagement and corruption that is believed to be behind the explosion in a Beirut Port warehouse. Hundreds of tons of highly explosive material was stored in the waterfront hangar, and a blast sent a shock wave that killed at least 160 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and defaced the coastline of Beirut - destroying hundreds of buildings.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America