Lebanon News

Mustapha Adib named as Lebanon PM-designate with 90 votes

President Michel Aoun receives former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Baabda, Aug. 31, 2020. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra, HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese diplomat Mustapha Adib was appointed as Lebanon's prime minister-designate Monday after securing 90 votes from MPs during binding parliamentary consultations held at the Baabda Palace.

The talks, held hours before French President Emmanuel Macron was set to visit Beirut, began at 9 a.m. and ended at 1:20 p.m. at the Baabda Palace during which parliamentary blocs discussed the candidacy of the next PM with President Michel Aoun.

A total of 120 MPs were set to vote on the new prime minister-designate, as eight had resigned in the wake of the Beirut Port blast.

Diplomat and International Court of Justice Judge Nawaf Salam raked in 16 votes, as he was named as candidate by Lebanese Forces Strong Republic bloc and independent MP Fouad Makhzoumi.

Former Interior Minister Raya el-Hassan, and engineer Fadel Shalak got one votes each from independent MPs, and seven MPs refrained from naming anyone.

The talks kicked off with former Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Saad Hariri and Najib Mikati, who all met Aoun separately and named Adib as their candidate for the premiership.

Hariri expressed his stance on the formation of the new government, which he said should be comprised of "specialists," but not necessarily technocrats, adding that the new ministers should not be from a political party.

He added that a lack of coordination during the nomination of caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab led to a "very bad result."

Salam said that "officials should realize that this is the last chance to save Lebanon."

Hariri and Salam are members of the Future Movement bloc, whose other 17 MPs also named Adib.

Deputy Parliament Speaker Elie Ferzli announced he will abstain from naming anyone as prime minister, as he does not see the nomination of Adib as a "positive thing," during the ordeal Lebanon is going through.

Hezbollah's Loyalty to the Resistance bloc comprised of 12 MPs named Adib as their candidate.

"We call on everyone to cooperate in the interest of Lebanon and serve its priorities which include the implementation of reforms, the reconstruction of Beirut and economic advancement," MP Mohammad Raad, head of the bloc, said.

The National Coalition bloc with five MPs also voted for Adib, as did the Progressive Socialist Party bloc with seven MPs.

Head of the PSP bloc MP Teymour Joumblatt said the party will not participate in the next government.

Mikati's bloc, the Independent Centrist bloc comprised of four MPs named Adib as their nominee.

The Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party bloc of three MPs did not explicitly name a candidate but head of the bloc MP Assaad Herdan said they "support political consensus," as major political forces agreed on a name, adding that they are against vacuum in the state's institutions, especially during these trying times.

The Consultative Gathering bloc comprised of four MPs did not name a candidate for the premiership.

"We were surpised by the naming [of Mustapha Adib] as we do not know who he is and what his political program or background is," MP Walid Sukkarieh said, adding that they don't know what agenda the big blocs agreed on in secret and wished the new government good luck.

The Lebanese Forces’ Strong Republic bloc with 15 MPs named International Court of Justice Judge Nawaf Salam as their candidate for the premiership.

“We chose Nawaf Salam because there are no unknown experiences with him, we know his independence and know that his decisions are in his hands,” MP George Adwan, head of the bloc said after their meeting with Aoun.

Adwan said Lebanon should take matters into its own hands and that they do not "accept deals neither internal nor external at the expense of Lebanon."

Adib emerged as a candidate to head the next Lebanese government Sunday night, after a group of former ex-PMs that includes Hariri, Salam, Fouad Siniora and Mikati, announced their choice.

Shortly after the announcement, the Future Movement, the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and Amal all endorsed Adib, according to a political source.

Adib is now tasked with forming a new government to replace the 8-month-old Cabinet of caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who resigned on Aug. 10 in the wake of the deadly Beirut Port blast and popular pressure.

Nonbinding parliamentary consultations for the government formation are set to be held Wednesday at Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri's residence in Ain al-Tineh.

Diab, who was appointed as prime minsiter in Dec. 2019 had secured a total of 69 votes, and contrary to Adib, lacked the backing of major Sunni forces which include Hariri.





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