BEIRUT — The head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil said on Monday that it would be "a crazy act" if Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati did not form a new government before the end of President Michel Aoun's term on Oct. 31.
The formation of a new cabinet is still at a standstill in Lebanon, after numerous disagreements between Aoun, Bassil's father-in-law and founder of the FPM, and the Prime Minister-designate and head of the caretaker cabinet, a regular target of attacks by the presidential camp.
In an interview with the Associated Press published on Monday, Gebran Bassil said it would be "a crazy act" if Mikati does not form a government before the end of Michel Aoun's term. In early October, the head of state had assured that "the presence of a president is fundamental to form a government and not the other way around," saying that the "absolute priority" must be given to the presidential election.
On two occasions, the MPs have failed to elect a successor to Aoun, and they have less than two weeks to do so, otherwise, Lebanon will find itself in a presidential vacuum. In addition, there is no active government, as the current cabinet has resigned and been in charge of current affairs since last May.
"We do not need in addition to our financial and economic crisis, a political crisis that splits the people on how to deal with the government,” Bassil told AP about the possibility of the outgoing government taking over the president's powers once he leaves office, an option rejected by the FPM. He added that failure to form a new cabinet would lead to "constitutional chaos."
“We will not accept that such a government runs the country. This is a Cabinet that did not win a vote of confidence and lacks constitutional legitimacy,” Bassil said.
Regarding the presidential election, around which Gebran Bassil has threatened to change the game recently by running for office, Bassil also told AP that despite media reports, he does not consider himself a candidate in this election.
The FPM leader also referred to the recently reached agreement on the demarcation of the maritime border with Israel, saying that “Although this agreement is not a normalization process with Israel, but it helps us, you know, to restore more stability in the region where we need to attract the investors,” while Lebanon is going through the worst economic crisis in its history.
“I think that the equation established with the strength or the force of Hezbollah and the threat to use it is what helped,” added Bassil, who says French giant TotalEnergies and the US have provided guarantees that offshore operations will begin as soon as the deal is finalized.