Lebanon to start talks for new prime minister on June 23

Forming a new government may still take months as political factions jockey over nominations and potential cabinet appointments

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Binding consultations with members of Lebanon's recently elected parliament to nominate a new prime minister are set to start on June 23, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Consultations with Lebanon’s 128 MPs will take place at the president's Baabda Palace outside Beirut.

President Michel Aoun is scheduled to start with a mid-morning one-on-one meeting with Deputy Parliament Speaker Elias Abou Saab, Baabda said.

Mr Aoun will then spend fifteen minutes with each of the parliament’s 13 political blocs where representatives of each bloc will put forward their nominations.

The new prime minister will be selected based on the consensus of these nominations and must then form a government, a process that often takes months.

Analysts previously told The National that they expect caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati to be chosen again.

A three-time prime minister who made a fortune in the telecom sector, Mr Mikati is a consensual figure who reputedly enjoys good relations with most political parties.

Mr Mikati's main rival, also several-time prime minister Saad Hariri, announced his withdrawal from political life on January 22 and declined to run in May’s parliamentary election.

Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system dictates that the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim, the President a Maronite Christian and the Parliament speaker Shiite Muslim.

Lebanon needs a new government to push forward difficult reforms requested by the IMF for a bail-out.

The country's political class has been unable to address its worsening economic crisis which started in 2019 and has pushed nearly three-quarters of the population into poverty.

Updated: June 15, 2022, 2:35 PM
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