The French initiative stalled in Lebanon .. Why did Aoun postpone...

The French initiative stalled in Lebanon .. Why did Aoun postpone...
The French initiative stalled in Lebanon .. Why did Aoun postpone...
Lebanon is in a state of stalemate after the Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced the postponement of binding parliamentary consultations to name a prime minister to form the new government in the country for a week, after it was scheduled for Thursday.

The Presidency of the Republic justified its decision that it came “at the request of some parliamentary blocs for the emergence of difficulties that require work to solve them.”

Before that, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri had initiated his candidacy to form the government, and the Future Parliamentary Bloc – which he heads – conducted a series of meetings with various parliamentary blocs to facilitate his mission in the context of opening the way to the French initiative.

Parking map

In the last hours that preceded the postponement of the consultations, contacts between the Lebanese forces intensified, and the stances map of Hariri’s initiative appeared as follows: The Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces Party – the two largest Christian blocs in Lebanon – refused to name Hariri in the presidential palace consultations.

In addition to the “Future” bloc, the head of the “Marada” movement, Suleiman Franjieh, and the “Independent Center” and “Tashnak” all expressed a willingness to name Hariri. The Media Commission of the Progressive Socialist Party headed by Walid Jumblatt also announced that the latter had received a positive call from Hariri to amend his stance towards naming him.

Jumblatt also received, according to the statement, a call from “Patrick Dorrell, advisor to French President Emmanuel Macron, with the aim of making the French initiative a success and implementing the reforms it contained.”

While the statement of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s office opposed any postponement of the consultations, the “Development and Liberation” bloc that he headed was heading to name Hariri, and no official position was issued by his ally Hezbollah in this regard.


Basil’s accusations

Immediately after announcing the postponement of the consultations, some analyzes considered that President Aoun’s decision came in line with the position of the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil, who rejected Hariri’s nomination, especially since Bassil had launched an attack on the former prime minister, considering that he would not accept the leadership of a government of non-partisan specialists (technocrats).

However, these accusations were denied by sources close to the Presidential Palace, placing Aoun’s decision within the framework of giving an additional opportunity to save the French initiative, and to create an atmosphere that would later facilitate the writing process after assigning a prime minister.

In the context, Mustafa Alloush, a member of the political bureau in the Future Movement, accuses the leader Basil of being behind the postponement of the consultations. A government headed by Hariri without his participation. ”

Alloush denied that Hariri was directly motivated by France to form the government, but that “his initiative stems from his sense of responsibility to take advantage of the only opportunity to save the French initiative, otherwise the fall will be inevitable,” as he put it.


Government and obstacles

Aoun had assigned Mustafa Adib to form the “mission” government that French President Emmanuel Macron called for, before he apologized on September 26th for not proceeding with the matter due to the differences of political forces that stumbled the formation of the government. Thus, Alloush says, “Lebanon has proven its failure by appointing an independent president to form a government of specialists.”

For his part, Jimmy Jabbour, a member of the political bureau in the Free Patriotic Movement, rejects all the accusations that are made against Bassil, and believes that postponing the consultations is not a sin but rather a constitutional decision, and “it happened several times at the request of Hariri when he was charged with forming previous governments.”

Jabbour said in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that Lebanon’s situation calls for the formation of a government as soon as possible, but it must be on firm foundations, stressing that Bassil did not ask Aoun to postpone the consultations. Rather, Aoun’s decision came as a result of consulting with some parliamentary blocs.

Bassil had tweeted immediately after the consultations were postponed, saying, “With respect to the president’s decision to postpone consultations, this matter will not change our position.”

Therefore, Jabbour believes that Bassil emphasized through his position that he would not wait for Hariri to communicate with him to represent him in the government, indicating that the Free Patriotic Movement’s demand is “unity of criteria” in forming the government, meaning either that it be a technocratic government headed by a technocrat, or a political government headed by Politician.

Postponement and reasons

At this time, observers considered that the postponement of the consultations came as a result of the disagreement of the two balanced Christian blocs – the forces and the Free Patriotic Movement – for the nomination of Hariri, which means a lack of confidence in the incoming government.

However, the deputy of the Lebanese Forces Bloc, Joseph Ishaq, confirms in a statement to Al-Jazeera Net that the refusal to name Hariri is a principled position stemming from the forces ’conviction of the necessity to adhere to the provisions of the French initiative. He denied that the forces contribute to obstructing the formation of the government.

Ishaq accuses what he describes as the tripartite alliance (Hezbollah, Amal Movement, and the Free Patriotic Movement) of taking the country to perdition, and “as if the October 17 uprising did not take place against them and the Beirut port did not explode at a time when the trio continues to search for ways to divide the country,” as he put it .

Ishaq believes that Hariri entered the tripartite alliance game, while “the forces are convinced that there is no solution in a political government headed by a politician.”

For his part, writer and political analyst Faisal Abdul Sater reveals his data about Hezbollah’s facilitating the postponement of consultations, “in order to prevent the creation of convulsive climates in the country if Hariri is assigned without the approval of the various forces, led by the Free Patriotic Movement.”

Abdel Sater told Al-Jazeera Net that Aoun’s stance was not malicious because “even naming specialists must be based on political consensus.”

Fate and attempts

On the fate of forming the government, Mustafa Alloush believes that Basil’s attempts will fail in front of the mission of Hariri, who will not withdraw his candidacy to form a government.

On the other hand, Abdel Sater considers that the date for parliamentary consultations next Thursday will be decisive in Lebanon, if there is no foreign interference to postpone the government file until after the US elections.

For his part, Jimmy Jabbour considers that the constitutional vacuum will not be prolonged, but “forming a government requires the availability of standards, which Basil’s team will not give up.”

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