Lebanon: LF, FPM will not name Mikati

Lebanese parliamentary consultations at Baabda Palace on Thursday will see Hezbollah and Amal MPs, along with a number of Sunni and independent representatives, appoint interim Prime Minister Najib Mikati to lead the next government.

Two other formations will also designate Mikati, including the National Bloc of Moderation, launched on Wednesday and comprising six deputies from the north, and the Independent National Bloc, which brings together three deputies.

The interim Prime Minister is expected to collect around 50 votes out of the 128 parliamentarians.

Nawaf Salam, judge at the International Court of Justice, will be nominated by the Lebanese Kataeb party (4 MPs) and the Democratic Rally Bloc (8 MPs). Meanwhile, 13 Movement for Change MPs were still undecided on a unified name on Wednesday night.

The Lebanese Forces party announced on Wednesday that it would refrain from nominating a candidate.

LF party leader Samir Geagea said his bloc’s decision was based on the fact that none of the candidates “meets the specifications we are proposing”.

“We were the first to appoint Judge Salam (in previous consultations), but since then we do not know what his positions are on the issues raised, and we have not heard any position from him… Moreover, we did not see consensus among opposition political forces on Nawaf Salam, so we will not name him,” Geagea said.

He continued: “With the presence of President Michel Aoun in Baabda, there is no hope of a major change that any government can achieve…”

Geagea noted that his bloc would not participate in the next cabinet or appoint Mikati, as the latter has always insisted on a government of national unity.

The leader of the FPM, MP Gebran Bassil, had announced his refusal to appoint Mikati, without presenting an alternative candidate.

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