Ex-Lebanese PMs seen dealing blow to chances of govt led by Khatib

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Any candidate for the post of Lebanese prime minister who engages in talks over the make-up of the cabinet before being formally designated premier is violating the constitution, three former prime ministers said.

The statement on Wednesday from former prime ministers Fouad Siniora, Tamman Salam and Najib Mikati was seen as a blow to efforts underway to form a new government led by Sunni businessman Samir Khatib.

Later in the day, Siniora told Al Arabiya that there is a denial of what is happening in Lebanon, and suggested that young people across sectarian lines were speaking up.

He continued by calling for return to the text of the Lebanese constitution to overcome obstacles to the formation of a government.

The post of prime minister is reserved for a Sunni Muslim in Lebanon’s sectarian sytem of government.

Statements from Lebanese politicians on Tuesday had appeared to signal progress towards agreeing a new government led by
Khatib, though a deal had yet to be done. Lebanon is facing its worst economic crisis since its 1975-90 civil war.

Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Tuesday he backed Khatib for the post but added that “some details” still had to be hashed out. He said his party would only name technocrats as ministers.