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Lebanon president postpones parliamentary consultations on new PM till Thursday

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Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has again postponed the parliamentary consultations on the new prime minister until Thursday at the request of Saad Hariri, the leading candidate for the role.

The postponement is to “allow for more consultation on the government formation topic,” according to a tweet from the account of the Lebanese Presidency.

Aoun was expected to name Saad Hariri as the country’s next prime minister during consultations scheduled for Monday, which are now set to take place on Thursday.

Hariri, a Western ally and the leading Sunni politician, is widely seen by politicians as the only candidate for the post after both Mohammed Safadi and Samir Khatib previously withdrew as candidates. Hariri quit the job in late October under pressure from protests against the political elite that has overseen decades of corruption and bad governance.

Hariri wants to lead a cabinet of specialist ministers which he says would be able to tackle the crisis and attract foreign aid, while his opponents want a combination of politicians and experts.

“It should be clear to anyone who might nominate Hariri tomorrow that he will only form a government of specialists,” a source close to Hariri told Reuters.

Hundreds of people protesting against the ruling elite returned to central Beirut on Sunday, despite a fierce crackdown by security forces near parliament the previous night. The security forces had fired tear gas and rubber bullets overnight at demonstrators in clashes that wounded dozens.

- With Reuters