Lebanon News

Asrlan: More time needed to select next PM

Head of Lebanese Democratic Party, MP Talal Arslan arrives at the Parliament in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: More time is needed for parliamentarians to reach a consensus candidate to head the new government, Lebanese Democratic Party chief MP Talal Arslan said Wednesday following talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.

“We hope that the [parliamentary] consultations will be postponed to give more time for deliberations and for the various parties to reach an agreement,” Arslan told reporters after talks with Jumblatt, in the first call for a postponement of the consultations to select the next prime minister.

President Michel Sleiman set April 5 and April 6 for parliamentary consultations to select the next premier following the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet last month.

Arslan added that efforts were ongoing to see a consensus candidate replace Mikati, now caretaker prime minister.

“We are trying to narrow the gap [between parties] in order to choose a consensus prime-minister designate because the current phase and Lebanon requires this,” Arslan said.

Although Arslan and Jumblatt are considered political rivals, the head of the LDP said the two are always coordinating on issues concerning the unity of the “[Chouf] Mountain” and the country as a whole.

“I know that some people were annoyed about this meeting [with Jumblatt] and thought that a gathering of this nature means a change in political stances and beliefs,” he said.

“Talal Arslan will remain coordinating with Walid Jumblatt with regard to all issues that concern the unity of the [Chouf] Mountain,” Arslan said.





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