Hariri rejects gov't led by Hizbullah-backed candidate

Raising the stakes in political crisis, statement from Lebanese PM's office says there is no "consensual candidate."

January 24, 2011 13:49
2 minute read.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

saad hariri 311. (photo credit: AP)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

BEIRUT— Lebanon's caretaker prime minister said Monday he will take part in any government headed by a Hizbllah-backed candidate, raising the stakes in a crisis that many fear could descend into violence.

Sa'ad Hariri made the announcement as Lebanese President Michel Suleiman began two days of consultations with lawmakers over their choice of premier.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

Editorial: Can Lebanon find the courage to be free?
Mofaz: Hizbullah may form Iranian proxy state in Lebanon

Lebanon will likely see lengthy negotiations to form a new government after Hizbullah toppled Hariri's Western-backed unity government on Jan. 12 over his refusal to renounce a UN-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Many fear Hizbullah will react violently if its members are indicted, as is widely expected. Hizbullah, which gets support from Syria and Iran, is Lebanon's most powerful armed force.

Now, both sides are scrambling for enough support to form a government.

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the turmoil in Lebanon

Hizbullah and its allies are believed to have chosen moderate politician and billionaire businessman Najib Mikati as their candidate. Mikati, who served briefly as premier in 2005, announced late Sunday that he is seeking the post as a candidate of "moderation and accord" in the talks Monday and Tuesday.

Asked whether he was the candidate for the Hizbullah-led bloc known as "March 8," Mikati said: "I consider myself to be a candidate of accord and moderation."

A statement issued by Hariri's office, however, said there is no "consensual candidate."

"There is a candidate named Sa'ad Hariri, and another candidate for the March 8 forces, and the choice in this regard is clear and unambiguous," the statement said.

Hariri said his Future movement will not participate in any government headed by a Hizbullah-backed candidate.

Lawmaker Oqab Sakr said Mikati's candidacy was "a clear challenge to the will of the parliamentary and popular majority."

The support of at least 65 lawmakers is required to form a government in Lebanon's 128-seat Parliament. Hizbullah and its allies already claim 57 seats. Sa'ad Hariri has 60.

Walid Jumblatt, the influential leader of the Druse sect who heads an 11-member bloc in Parliament, said this week he was supporting Hizbullah and Syria.

He is believed to have secured for Hizbullah the votes of at least seven lawmakers from his bloc, which would bring the militant group only one seat short of majority to govern on its own.

The Hizbullah leader said on Sunday that the group and its allies will seek to form a new unity government with their rivals in Lebanon's Western-backed political bloc if the candidate they are backing is chosen to be prime minister.

A Harvard graduate, Mikati is seen as a relatively neutral figure who enjoys good relations with Syrian President Bashar Assad and also with the pro-Western Hariri, who himself is seeking to keep the post.

Related Content

July 19, 2018
Pro-Assad villages evacuated in deal with Syrian rebels