The binding parliamentary consultations, which will be held at the Baabda Palace on Thursday, are expected to see the designation of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to head the new government, as the attempts of the former Foreign Minister, MP Gebran Bassil, to hinder his nomination have failed.
Hariri will be leading the government for the fourth time since the assassination of his father, late former Premier Rafik Hariri, in February 2005.
Political sources ruled out the possibility of unseen obstacles that would push for postponing the consultations for the second time within a week. They noted that Aoun had delayed the deliberations the first time last week to give Bassil a chance to reshuffle the cards and block the way to Hariri’s designation.
Consequently, the president could no longer delay the binding consultations, unless the FPM chief created a new issue, a former prime minister told Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity.
He noted that Bassil was known for disrupting cabinet sessions and hampering the productivity of governments. But political sources said that the president “lacks the pressure cards to use them to empower Bassil and save him politically. In this regard, they stressed that the consultations have become a subject of international and regional interest, with the mounting American and French pressure.
On the other hand, the sources underlined that the formation process would not be easy, especially if Bassil insisted on having the complete share of Christian ministers, with the refusal of the Lebanese Forces to participate in a government led by Hariri. These justifications may be Bassil’s last line of defense to recover his political strength, according to the sources.
However, the FPM’s insistence on having an independent technocrat to lead the new government would not meet a positive response from other blocs, the political sources said, as the premiership is a political post “par excellence.”
“Was Aoun elected president because he is a technocrat figure, or because he was leading a political movement?” they asked.