Lebanon president postpones consultations ahead of Hariri’s expected PM nomination

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Parliamentary consultations to appoint a new prime minister in Lebanon were postponed late Wednesday after former PM Saad Hariri was expected to be nominated.

“President Aoun decided to postpone the parliamentary consultations scheduled for tomorrow until next Thursday,” a tweet from the presidency said.

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The decision to postpone the binding consultations came after the country’s two largest Christian blocs said they would not nominate Hariri. Despite opposition from the Lebanese Forces and Free Patriotic Movement, Hariri was anticipated to get a majority of the votes, which would have seen him tasked with forming a new government.

The Shia duo, Hezbollah and Amal Movement, have advocated for and pressed Hariri to return to the premiership after he stepped down almost one year ago due to nationwide anti-government protests.

Hariri, initially refusing to be a candidate, reversed course last week and announced that he was a “natural candidate.” Hariri met with the president and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri earlier this week while he dispatched a delegation to meet with the country’s leading political parties in an effort to garner support.

Read more: Lebanon alters delegation for US-led talks with Israel after Hezbollah backlash

But FPM leader Gebran Bassil hit out at the former PM on Tuesday, saying, “Whoever wants to head a government of technocrats has to be a technocrat himself.”

Bassil’s political rival, LF leader Samir Geagea, also said his party’s bloc would not name anyone before Aoun’s announcement.

Hariri has said that one of his conditions for heading a new government would be for it to be made up of independent experts, not affiliated with political parties.

Read more: Lebanon’s Gebran Bassil criticizes former PM Hariri efforts to form government

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