The move made by the Free Patriotic Movement, the Future Movement, the Amal Movement and Hezbollah to nominate ex-finance minister Mohammed Safadi to line-up the new Lebanese government during a meeting, received backlash from protesters late on Thursday who held a sit-in outside Safadi's house Tripoli.
Sources from the meeting held with Caretaker PM Saad Hariri at the Center House revealed that Hezbollah’s chief political advisor Hajj Hussein al-Khalil and Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil back Hariri to preside over the government.
“They indicated that they did not mind for two thirds of the government to be technocrat. Hariri insisted on designating another figure than him,” the source conveyed.
Hariri had said he would return only as prime minister of a cabinet of specialist ministers which would win aid and save Lebanon from crisis, and pledged to represent the Future Movement in the new government and would name the Cabinet’s ministers.
Caretaker Foreign Minister and Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil on Friday proclaimed that binding parliamentary consultations to name a prime minister is supposedly scheduled for Monday, after which Mohammad Safadi will be designated as Premier.
In an interview with MTV website, Bassil expected parliamentary consultations to begin on Monday and a new government would likely to be formed quickly “because the main political parties agreed on the swift government formation” and Safadi has previously taken over several ministries so he knows the state well.
“There are not any corruption suspicions surrounding him. Therefore, I find him to be a very suitable person for this stage,” Bassil stated.
“If consensus to endorse Safadi was not reached, discussions will carry on in circles waiting to agree on a name,” Bassil said.
Bassil assured that the 75-year-old tycoon has agreed to be Lebanon’s PM if he wins the support of the main political forces in government.
Baabda Palace sources questioned the interview’s report, declaring that the President had not yet set a date for the consultations, according to MTV.
“It is usual for Bassil to hold consultations, for he is the head of a parliamentary bloc and we support the appointment of specialists,” Bassil's Advisor Antoine Costantine told MTV in response to criticism over Bassil’s statement that considered it supercilious to the President’s position.
A politburo member in the Future Movement party, Moustapha Allouche, suggested to The National that naming Safadi "was just thrown among people as a test.”
"Several factors make Safadi’s nomination unlikely, he’s outside the country now and he’s old and his health is not good enough. At the same time, he’s not ready for this type of government where he has to fight with everyone around," Allouche told The National.
Information obtained by Al-Markazia newspaper affirmed that Safadi is in good health without undergoing any surgeries recently and he is in Lebanon moving between Beirut and Tripoli.