Lebanese President Calls for Talks on New PM, 3 Ex-PMs Criticize Hariri’s Pick
Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on Wednesday for consultations with lawmakers next Monday to designate a new prime minister. Aoun must designate the candidate with the greatest support among the members of Lebanon’s 128-seat parliament. The prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim according to Lebanon’s constitution. Also Wednesday, former prime ministers Fouad Siniora, Tamman Salam and Najib Mikati dealt a blow to chances for assembling a government under Sunni businessman Samir Khatib when they released a statement saying that any candidate for the premiership who engages in talks over the cabinet’s makeup before being designated prime minister is violating the constitution. Caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on October 29 in response to anti-government protests, said Tuesday that he backed Khatib. Statements from Lebanese politicians on Tuesday seemed to signal progress toward the formation of a Khatib government.