BEIRUT — Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Thursday after meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri that holding a legislative session of Parliament is necessary "to adopt reform projects" amid Lebanon's deepening crisis.
Mikati also met on Thursday with the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Abdel-Latif Derian, and a delegation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) currently in the country.
A meeting of the Parliament bureau, which sets the legislative body's agenda, had initially been scheduled for next Monday. Berri canceled it on Thursday morning, a source in Parliament told L'Orient Today. This meeting had been meant to discuss the agenda for a controversial future legislative session.
"The election of a president is the solution and it is necessary, and so is a session of Parliament to adopt reform projects," said Mikati after his meeting with Berri.
He also stressed that "the current situation requires urgent and rapid action to save the country... Let those who criticize our action go and elect a president of the Republic," he said, while the MPs have not yet elected a successor to Michel Aoun despite 11 sessions dedicated to doing so.
Mikati added that he met with a delegation from the IMF in the morning, with whom he "discussed the various reforms that must be adopted" in exchange for a multi-billion-dollar bailout package.
"We have three choices: to agree with the IMF, to agree among ourselves or not to agree at all. So far, we have chosen the worst option," Mikati concluded.
Earlier in the day, the caretaker prime minister also met with Abdel-Latif Derian in Dar al-Fatwa. "I explained our situation, that we are fully doing our duty as a government," he said. "We have sent all the bills approved by the cabinet to Parliament to be adopted, in order to start a major reform project."
No new cabinet has been formed since May 2022 legislative elections, leaving the previous cabinet of Mikati to serve in a caretaker capacity. The body has still managed to meet since then, despite the criticism of some parties, notably the Free Patriotic movement and the Lebanese Forces.
Detractors accuse Mikati of exercising some powers meant for the president amid the ongoing presidential vacuum.