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Gebran Bassil says FPM will not vote for re-election of Najib Mikati as prime minister

Gebran Bassil says FPM will not vote for re-election of Najib Mikati as prime minister

Gebran Bassil during an interview with L'Orient-Le Jour. (Credit: L'Orient-Le Jour)

BEIRUT — Gebran Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), said on Sunday evening that his party will not vote for the reappointment of caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati as head of the next government stating that the current caretaker prime minister is “inept” at handling several political issues.

Here’s what we know:

    • While the outgoing prime minister is considered a convenient option for his own succession, Bassil stressed "not wanting to vote for Mikati for many reasons. If he doesn't want [the position], let him announce it," Bassil said in a tweet.

    • In an interview with Al Jadeed, Mikati on June 1 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.”

    • Bassil added that “on a personal level, I appreciate Mikati very much, but he is inept. He, himself, said to President Aoun: ‘They will not let you do anything during your term in office,’ and we know who he’s talking about,” he continued before arguing that "Najib Mikati has lost his legitimacy by supporting an [electoral] list that lost" in the legislative elections in Tripoli on May 15.

    • Bassil also pointed out that there have been shortcomings from Mikati’s side “on the [Beirut] port issue and the issue of the central bank’s governor.”

    • The investigation into the devastating 2020 Beirut port explosion has been relentlessly obstructed by top politicians leaving the probe in limbo, with caretaker Finance minister Youssef Khalil, being accused of impeding the investigation by avoiding signing judicial appointments. As for Riad Salameh, who has been heading the central bank, which went bankrupt, for 30 years, faces probes in Lebanon and at least five European countries, including into the alleged misuse of more than $300 million by him and his younger brother, Raja.

    • A source at the Presidential Palace confirmed to L’Orient Today that the binding parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister-designate will be held this week at the Baabda Palace, without specifying which day.

    • Bassil also expressed his disinterest in being a minister in the next government adding that his approval to a minister position in the previous government was a "big political mistake." Bassil, who faces sanctions by the U.S. on grounds of corruption, held the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants from 2014 to 2020, Minister of Energy and Water from 2009 to 2014 and Minister of Telecommunications from 2008 to 2009. Bassil, as well as former Minister of Labor and Minister of Justice Salim Jreissati, have a lawsuit filed against them for allegedly conspiring to torture and kidnap two Florida-based plaintiffs.


BEIRUT — Gebran Bassil, the head of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), said on Sunday evening that his party will not vote for the reappointment of caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati as head of the next government stating that the current caretaker prime minister is “inept” at handling several political issues. Here’s what we know:    • While the outgoing prime minister is...