BEIRUT — In an interview with Al-Jadeed television channel, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday expressed his reluctance to take part in forming a new cabinet, saying that he finds the task “difficult … because most of the political discourse revolves around who has a stronger backing than who.”
Here’s what we know:
• Mikati suggested names of potential candidates who could form the new government, such as MPs Ashraf Rifi and Abdel Rahman al-Bizri. He also put forward another potential candidate for his post — Amer Bassat, a former economist at the International Monetary Fund — and added that he would “support any other candidate proffered.”
• Mikati also said that his caretaker cabinet should be able to carry on in the meantime as long as the Parliament fulfills its duties fully, “otherwise, we would not be able to last more than one year,” he added.
• During the interview, Mikati called for the urgent formation of an “exemplary” government, without giving further details. “I call for the formation of an exemplary government as soon as possible, and I know that this is difficult because the president wants to obtain a majority in this government so that he feels at ease, but this is difficult at the moment,” he said.
• A spokesman for President Michel Aoun, Rafic Chelala, told L'Orient-Le Jour that the president is waiting for the establishment of the parliamentary blocs so that he may send them invitations to come to Baabda Palace for binding parliamentary consultations in order to designate a new prime minister. Once designated, the new prime minister is responsible for forming a government, a task often considered the most tedious in Lebanon and which risks stretching out over a monthslong period if a compromise is not found.