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Morning Brief

Consultations to appoint new premier, Lina Mounzer interrogated, Salameh-Judge Aoun standoff: Everything you need to know to start your Thursday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Thursday, June 23

Consultations to appoint new premier, Lina Mounzer interrogated, Salameh-Judge Aoun standoff: Everything you need to know to start your Thursday

Members of Lebanese security forces stand inside a house belonging to central bank Governor Riad Salameh, in Rabieh, Lebanon on June 22, 2022. (Credit: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters)

Consultations to appoint a new prime minister will start today. The main contenders are caretaker Prime Minster Najib Mikati and International Court of Justice judge Nawaf Salam. So far, it appears the former may have the majority to succeed, marking his fourth term as prime minister. Salam has the support of the Progressive Socialist Party opposition party Taqaddom, Kataeb and others. Salam is a former Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations and current judge at the ICJ. Meanwhile, two different parliamentary blocks emerged ahead of the consultations yesterday, the first being composed of former Future Movement-affiliated MPs and the second composed of Ashraf Rifi, Fouad Makhzoumi, Michel Mouawad and Adib Abdelmassih. Meanwhile, newly elected Saida MP Abdul Rahman Bizri said that he is not a candidate for the premiership, despite being suggested by Mikati in an interview earlier this month. The Lebanese Forces meanwhile have decided not to endorse anyone for the position of prime minister.

Writer and journalist Lina Mounzer was interrogated yesterday by the Internal Security Forces’ Intelligence Unit in relation to what her lawyer termed a “minor security incident.” On Tuesday, Mounzer revealed via Twitter that she had received a summons for questioning without being told its motivation. After being questioned yesterday, her lawyer said that concerns had been cleared up “and turned out [to be] irrelevant.” He added that her phone, which was confiscated at entry, would be returned to her. In May of this year, Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index ranked Lebanon 130 out 180 countries.

Yesterday, a state security patrol tried to enforce a subpoena filed by Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Ghada Aoun against central bank Governor Riad Salameh. The patrol alongside Judge Aoun managed to enter the home of Salameh in the lavish Rabieh neighborhood above Beirut. He was not found there. This follows a Tuesday night raid by state security at the same home, as Salameh was giving an interview with LBCI at another location. In February, State Security tried implementing a subpoena also issued by Judge Aoun after Salameh failed on multiple occasions to show up for questioning in relation to a lawsuit filed against him. However, the officers were unable to locate the governor, but got into a small skirmish with ISF charged with protecting Salameh. Riad Salameh also faces an ongoing Swiss probe into financial gains made by a British Virgin Islands company connected to his brother Raja Salameh, Forry Associates Ltd. The Salameh brothers have also denied wrongdoing in that case.

The central bank has renewed two circulars pertaining to de facto capital controls issued by commercial banks. The first, Circular 151, was extended to the end of the year, and includes withdrawals from dollar denominated accounts at the rate of LL8,000 to one dollar. The second circular, Circular 158, was extended for one year and affects foreign currency deposits made in commercial bank accounts before October 2019. Under Circular 158, depositors can withdraw up to $800 a month, $400 in dollar notes, and the other $400 in lira at the LL12,000 rate.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday: “In a season of migration, of what use is ‘home’ to Lebanon’s artists?”


Consultations to appoint a new prime minister will start today. The main contenders are caretaker Prime Minster Najib Mikati and International Court of Justice judge Nawaf Salam. So far, it appears the former may have the majority to succeed, marking his fourth term as prime minister. Salam has the support of the Progressive Socialist Party opposition party Taqaddom, Kataeb and others. Salam is...