The binding parliamentary consultations in the Republican Palace in Lebanon ended with the exit of the only candidate, Saad Hariri, as president assigned to form the government, with 65 votes, compared to 53 MPs who declined to name him, while two MPs were absent from the consultations.
Hariri was able to obtain the mandate for the votes of the parliamentary blocs affiliated with the Future Movement, the Al-Wasat bloc headed by Najib Mikati, the Amal Movement, the Progressive Socialist Party, as well as the Marada Movement, the Syrian Social National Party, and the Armenian Tashnak Party with other independents, while he refused to name it Hezbollah. And each of the two major Christian blocs, the “Free Patriotic Movement” and the “Lebanese Forces”, and others as well.
After his meeting with President Michel Aoun, Hariri announced upon his assignment that he was determined to form a government of non-partisan specialists, whose mission was to implement the economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative paper, and to work for the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the bombing of Beirut port on 4 August.
Moving from assignment to authoring, observers expect the political battle to intensify, in light of the existing disagreement between Hariri on the one hand and Gebran Bassil on the other hand, and it has been accompanied by discrepancies between the traditional allies themselves, and a new mixing of existing understanding papers.
The Secretary of the Political Bureau in the “Future Movement” Fadi Saad indicates that Hariri’s mission is under the umbrella of the French initiative, which is to form a “important” government for a specific time consisting of specialists without partisan political participation, to undertake the implementation of reforms and negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, which means that it is a government Cannot bear the atmosphere of political rivalries.
Saad assures Al-Jazeera Net that Hariri has not concluded side agreements with any political party at the expense of the content of the French initiative.
Tomorrow, Friday, Hariri awaits non-binding consultations with parliamentary blocs, including the Free Patriotic Movement bloc headed by Basil.
Saad says that Hariri fears that the economic collapse will worsen before the formation of the government, and that he will not restrict himself to a specific period of time, while he is keen to speed up the formation process.
While Bassil refuses to describe any government that Hariri forms with the government of specialists, our interlocutor considers that this argument will not weaken Hariri in his mission, and he reminds that the position of prime minister is a political one like the positions of the presidency and the parliament.
In conjunction with this movement, information by Al-Jazeera Net indicates that efforts to bridge the distances between Hariri and Bassil have begun to intensify before the date of their meeting, and that Hezbollah is taking the lead, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Elie Ferzli.
However, a member of the Free Patriotic Movement’s political bureau, Walid Al-Ashqar, indicates that Bassil has not made up his mind yet about going to meet Hariri, and explains to Al-Jazeera Net that the problem with Hariri is not personal, but is based on previous experience with him, as a leader of a sect and a political party not authorized to form a government from Specialists, and as a productive and cooperative figure, he had never succeeded in implementing the reforms previously proposed by Basil’s political team.
But if Hariri intends to form a political government, according to Ashqar, then Bassil could re-mix the cards with him, “despite his doubts about his ability to succeed even in forming a political government.”
Christians and the 1990s alliance
Al-Ashkar recalls that Bassil’s political team is paying close attention to understandings that are beginning to mature between Hezbollah, the Amal movement, the Socialist and Hariri.
He said, “If Hariri as a representative of the Sunni bloc agrees with the Shiite duo and Walid Jumblatt as the Druze representative to form the government, Lebanon will move to a new political alliance similar to the one that lasted in the 1990s until 2005 between Rafik Hariri and Berri and his successors, Hezbollah and Jumblatt.”
Al-Ashqar believes that the current intersection between Islamic sects in the process of forming the government is achieved at the expense of excluding Christians and taking their role in naming their ministers, which means a blow to the National Charter.
As for the scenario from which Basil fears, according to Ashkar, it is that Hariri blames Aoun for obstruction if he does not sign his formation that investigates the Christian blocs, “while the crisis is borne by Hariri himself with his new allies,” he said.
Regarding the fear of French and external pressure on President Aoun and Bassil, Al-Ashqar considers that his political team refuses to be a mere false witness, and recalls Aoun’s saying, “The world can crush me but cannot take my signature.” Al-Ashqar added that the movement is fighting a battle of existence, either winning it or To lose it and there is no middle ground between them.
Hezbollah and Hariri
Based on Bassil’s position, the writer and political analyst Radwan Aqil considers that the failure of “Hezbollah” to name Hariri this time, unlike its ally Amal Movement, was expected, because he wanted to hold the stick in the middle between Hariri and Basil.
Aqil told Al-Jazeera Net that Hezbollah wanted to preserve its relationship with Basil on the one hand, and to facilitate the task of assigning Hariri on the other hand, provided that it would give it confidence in the House of Representatives, “because there is no birth of this government without the consent of the Shiite duo and naming their ministers.”
Aqil believes that Hariri will seek to form a government of specialists, but with a visa from the political blocs, including the Christian blocs, otherwise he will face an arduous task, if there is no French pressure and external facilitation for the birth of the government.
So, what are the most prominent obstacles that await Hariri after he is appointed to form the government?
The writer, political analyst, Amin Gamourieh, for Al-Jazeera Net summarizes the obstacles facing Hariri’s mission, internally and externally, in several points:
On the domestic level
Qamourieh sees the obstacle First In front of Hariri, it is with the President of the Republic, which was clearly evident in his speech on the eve of the assignment, and by virtue of Aoun’s constitutional position, he will not sign a squad that does not satisfy him.
Secondly: It is difficult for Hariri to ignore the two largest Christian blocs – the “Free Patriotic Movement” and “Lebanese Forces” – in his government formation, which will compel him later to seek a settlement with them.
Third: The Shiite duo Hariri will not be free in the process of forming the government, without providing adequate guarantees for their internal and external concerns.
Fourthly: Bassil will start his battle for the presidency, because the next parliament is authorized to hold the presidential elections, which means that Aoun is fighting Hariri in the battle to preserve the image of the Covenant and Bassil’s presidential battle.
At the external level
Gamourieh believes that the French will not put their full weight on Hariri, and their channels will remain open with the various forces for the sake of their interests, which may confuse Hariri in his mission.
It is likely that Saudi Arabia is completely dissatisfied with Hariri at a time when Riyadh forms the Gulf’s financial gateway to Lebanon.
As for the most difficult obstacle facing Hariri, it is with the International Monetary Fund and the American political weight it represents, especially since Lebanon has no choice but to go to it.
According to Gamourieh, the conditions of the International Monetary Fund will be harsh on Lebanon, in terms of removing subsidies on primary commodities and criminal, judicial and economic procedures, and they will conceal political demands related to files demarcating the maritime and land borders with Israel, illegal crossings and the file of Hezbollah’s weapons.
Accordingly, Hariri will not only be facing a crisis with Hezbollah, Gamourieh adds, but with the Lebanese street, which will not bear the economic repercussions of the IMF’s conditions, “which opens the country to various possibilities, in which the Hariri government will be weaker than the government of Hassan Diab.”