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Lebanon PM frontrunner Adib ‘another proxy for Lebanon’s old system’: Bahaa Hariri

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Bahaa Hariri, son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, said that the new frontrunner for prime minister, Mustapha Adib, “is another proxy for Lebanon’s old system,” in a Twitter post on Monday.

The previous government, currently operating in caretaker capacity, headed by Prime Minister Hassan Diab stepped down following the devastating blasts at the Port of Beirut. The explosion, caused by a fire that ignited 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port, destroyed vast swaths of the city and left 190 dead, according to the latest toll.

Now, Mustapha Adib, the current Lebanese ambassador to Germany, is expected to be named Prime Minister following consultations set for Monday.

“Mustapha Adib is another proxy for #Lebanon’s old system - it is not acceptable for warlords and militias to run our country. We need total change to make a #NewLebanon,” wrote Bahaa Hariri, who is also the brother of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri who stepped down last October as nationwide protests erupted over decades of government corruption.

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Bahaa's brother, Saad, has endorsed Adib, a diplomat, for prime minister. Under Lebanon's power-sharing system, the Prime Minister must be a Sunni Muslim.

This will be the third Prime Minister Lebanon has had since October 2019. Where successive governments, including the Diab government, knew of the presence of the substance for six years and failed to act, protests over government negligence quickly erupted. This time, protesters have called for a complete overhaul of the system.

Major political blocs as well as Hezbollah have backed Adib's nomination, which is set to be confirmed on Monday. Hezbollah, which backed the previous government, has heavy sway in government formation in Lebanon.

Protests that begun in October and have seen a resurgence have called for the end to the country's sectarian power-sharing system. On Sunday, Lebanon's President Michel Aoun called for the proclamation of a secular state. Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has also said he's open to a new political contract for Lebanon.

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However, where protesters have called for an end to the system, the ruling elite have dug in. Where the last cabinet was to be one of technocrats, Lebanese got a cabinet chock-full of fresh faces with familiar political ties.

Some have said they do not believe that any new government can make necessary reforms within the current system.