BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement’s head Gebran Bassil said Tuesday following a meeting with Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati that his party “does not have a desire to participate in the government and today we will discuss it at our parliamentary bloc meeting.”
Here’s what we know:
• In a press briefing following the second day of the non-binding ongoing parliamentary consultations with Mikati, Bassil said he asked the prime minister-designate to apply “a full or partial rotation[on the cabinet positions] and that a certain position should not be in the hands of a political party or a sect. The energy ministry has been in the hands of FPM since 2008 in which Bassil held the position in two governments.
• Bassil also said regarding the presidential election as President Michel Aoun’s term ends in October, that “we are against a presidential gap and we will do what it takes to prevent it from happening and everyone has to work accordingly.” Bassil, who is Aoun’s son-in-law, is a discussed candidate for the presidential election. He added that he discussed the matter of Banque Du Liban’s head Riad Salameh and the “scandal that Lebanon is experiencing in that matter.” Salameh is often criticized by Bassil and Aoun, who blame him for matters related to the unprecedented economic crisis that Lebanon is facing.
• Bassil also raised the matter of Syrian refugees saying that “we have seen the international community’s desire to keep them [in Lebanon] Lebanon is not able anymore to absorb the burden of refugees and the next government has to drop the label of refugees on them in order to secure their return.” Since 2016, UNHCR has recorded about 69,400 registered refugees who have voluntarily returned to Syria from Lebanon. In 2019, the peak year for returns, UNHCR recorded some 22,700 “voluntary returns” of Syrian refugees from Lebanon. However, human rights groups have documented numerous cases of returnees who were arrested upon their return and subsequently were tortured or died in detention. According to the Access Center for Human Rights, there were 59 cases of “arbitrary deportation” from Lebanon to Syria in 2021.
• Mikati was appointed on June 23 following the 2022 parliamentary elections to form a new government that will succeed his current cabinet which took charge since May 22.
• On Monday, he met with a number of parliamentary groups and Members of Parliament, where several parties, in particular the Lebanese Forces, the Progressive Socialist Party, the Kataeb, the opposition MPs, and the bloc of Michel Moawad, intend to boycott the government. Others, like Hezbollah, have called for all-party cooperation.
BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement’s head Gebran Bassil said Tuesday following a meeting with Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati that his party “does not have a desire to participate in the government and today we will discuss it at our parliamentary bloc meeting.”Here’s what we know: • In a press briefing following the second day of the non-binding ongoing...