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Thursday,23 September, 2021
Parliamentary consultations at the Presidential Palace: The President assigned Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to form the new government with a majority of 72 MP votes.
Parliamentary consultations at the Presidential Palace: The President assigned Prime Minister Najib Mikati, to form the new government with a majority of 72 MP votes.
26/07/2021

Speaker Berri: “What counts is government-formation”.

 

PM Mikati: “I do not have a magic stick. I need the trust and confidence of every Lebanese. I am reassured for guarantees from abroad, and through cooperation Lebanon can be saved”.

 

President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, finished the binding parliamentary consultations, today at 4:15pm. Consultations led to the designation of Premier, Najib Mikati, to form the next government, by a majority of 72 MP votes, while Ambassador, Nawwaf Salam took one vote, 42 MPs did refrained from naming, and 3 MPs were absent.

The President informed Parliament Speaker, Nabih Berri, about the results of consultations, and PM Mikati was summoned to the Baabda Palace for assigning him to form the new government.

After being informed of the results, Speaker Berri, considered that “What counts is government-formation”.

For his side, the Premier-Designate asserted his knowledge that “This step is difficult, but I am reassured. I have been studying the issue for a while, and if I hadn’t been sure about external guarantees, and convinced that it was time for someone to be at the forefront in limiting the fire, I wouldn’t have done that”.

“I am sure that in cooperation with His Excellency, the President, we will be able to form the required government. A government which one of its first tasks is to implement the French initiative, which is the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese economy and reviving it. I took it upon myself not to respond to what is being circulated in the media and social media. Good speech is brief speech” PM Mikati said.

“Strong Republic” bloc:

President Aoun met the “Strong Republic” bloc.

On behalf of the bloc, MP George Adwan said: “I will repeat before you the literal words I said to His Excellency the President. We, as the Strong Republic bloc, will not name anyone to be tasked with forming the government. Because we consider that we must be honest with people and with ourselves. With the presence of this ruling and controlling majority, we will not be able to do any work for the country and for the people. This majority had an opportunity after October 17 to change its practices and behavior, and it did not change, neither through its practice, nor its behavior, nor its mentality, starting from the government of Prime Minister Diab and assigning Mustafa Adib and then Prime Minister Hariri.

Nothing has changed, people are in one place and rulers are in another, and they differ over the quotas and what they will have, while they are ignorant of all the people’s concerns. We as the Strong Republic bloc will not in any way cover this system and this majority, and we will strive every day to relieve people of it as quickly as possible.

From here, when we demand early elections, some say maybe because you want to get more representatives. This is not true. But in order for people to bear the responsibility for change, people cannot, after all the humiliation they have gone through, not bear the responsibility of getting rid of this majority. We are with the people and by their side, and we will not cover anyone, so we will not charge anyone and will not participate in this government, and we will remain in the opposition. I strive every day to be able to bring the election date closer, and let the people prepare for the formation of the authority and get rid of this majority, because with this majority there is no hope for the country or the people”.

Questions & Answers:

In response to a question, he said, “MP Cesar Maalouf gave us a mandate that we handed over to His Excellency the President. He is traveling and requested that his position be the same as ours, and we have conveyed it to His Excellency the President, which is a request that his vote be counted among the bloc’s votes”.

Adwan explained in response to another question that: “Whoever we may name, the problem is not naming or assigning a prime minister, but rather the system that will control the composition and the head of government, so whoever we can name, in light of this majority and this system, nothing will change. They themselves, and their practices are the same, their mentality and their behavior are also the same”.

Question: But you were with this majority in one government?

Answer: “Yes, when we were hoping for this majority, but we saw their practices inside and outside the government, our concern was to finish them off and rid the people of them”.

MP Demerjian:

Then, President Aoun received MP Eddy Demerjian.

Demerjian said “I have named Prime Minister Najib Mikati, and I wish him success in his mission to bring the country to a safe shore. The constitution and the law are enough to protect Lebanon”.

MP Saad:

President Aoun met with MP Osama Saad.

MP Saad said “All decision-making centers in the state bear responsibility for the catastrophic conditions that Lebanon has reached. This is what I told the President of the Republic. Today is another assignment after another failure that has been imposed on the Lebanese people for nine months.

Today is another worn out patch on the worn-out dress of the political class. A new attempt by the ruling system to reproduce itself. There is no new and no lingering hopes. What I see is catastrophe and hell, hunger and insane prices, children on empty stomachs, no medicine, no fuel, humiliation lines, black markets and smuggling, electricity resting in the darkness. The tragedies did not come from abroad, they are the results of the policies, choices and corruption of the power system, yet we did not hear from them an apology that we do not want at all, nor did we hear from them an acknowledgment of responsibility. Those who were like that, they should be excluded from public life and not handed over the necks of the people and the fate of the country. The law should also bring thieves and corrupt criminals to prisons and not let them be released and have fun.

Lebanon is on the brink of total chaos, the system says either me or chaos, but the answer of the Lebanese is clear: No to chaos. What the Lebanese want is a decent life, justice, stability and security. There is no trust in them even if they rule”.

MP Daher:

President Aoun met MP Michel Daher.

MP Daher said “In the face of the suffering that we see today, and the humiliation that people are experiencing, whether it is in front of the doors of hospitals, fuel stations, or in terms of medicine. Today we do not have a state, and PM Mikati is presented to us to head the government, and this is best options we currently have.

We do not want to work with populism, people do not care about politics, they want to secure medicine, gasoline and education for their children. The US Dollar rate today recorded a decrease in its price to 15 thousand pounds due to the assignment process, but if a government is not formed, the dollar will rise to 30 and 40 thousand pounds at the end of the month. We have to make concessions to each other, as the country is not reconciled in this populist and electoral way, I feel today that we are not in consultations, rather we are in a wrestling and boxing arena to score points. I, as a deputy, bear my responsibility, for what is before me is Najib Mikati, and I accept reality, and if the President appoints Mikati and forms an effective rescue government according to the French initiative, I have the honor to give him the confidence, otherwise I will withhold it. Even if the government does not gain confidence, it remains better than the current government, which does not practice the minimum level of business conduct. I named PM Mikati according to this principle. I do not engage in elections or populism in this matter, and I do not score points on anyone, but I bear my responsibility towards the people and towards the country”.

MP Makhzoumi:

President Aoun met MP Fouad Makhzoumi.

Makhzoumi said “I named Ambassador Nawwaf Salam, as we named him last time. Today we support a free man, completely independent and away from the system of corruption that we see. And if we want change, I blame my colleagues who came and put a white paper. If we want change, we have to do it through the alternative, not the white paper.

Why did I call Nawwaf Salam? Because whoever is being proposed is against everything that is proposed internationally, and is based on 3 things: an independent and free government, not affiliated with the same system, and it has 3 roles: First, achieving the independence of the judiciary. We have seen how those who will be in charge are the ones who signed the petition that refuses to lift the immunities. If we want to achieve the independence of the judiciary, should we start by not lifting the immunities of those who are responsible for the explosion, which is the biggest crime that took place in Beirut.

Second, the people themselves have achieved what is called a Bank Party in the House of Representatives, which has prevented the process of moving forward with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They are the ones who sabotaged the issue of capital control in the first place, and prevented the forensic audit process. Some representatives said that there is no need for forensic auditing.

We will not be satisfied and will not ask the international community, and our people will not be satisfied with such supervision that happened in the previous elections, because I am one of the people who were elected and the prime minister and the interior minister were against me. We must have real officials who are far from making any "hustle" in the elections. From this standpoint, I named Ambassador Nawwaf Salam because I consider it better than all this system that we take out of the door and enter through the window”.

Questions & Answers:

In response to a question about whether Premier Mikati does not have these characteristics, he said: “Of course not, and that is why I did not name him. I am the son of Beirut and an MP of Beirut, and I am interested to know what happened in the biggest crime against Beirut. What did this government do and what stood with our people? Will the governor of the Central Bank be held accountable, and who will dare to say that the financial engineering he carried out did not benefit from it? Will he be able to change the subsidy process? These are the citizens’ questions. I do not see any hope in this matter”.

In response to another question, he said: “Do I represent people or not? I won the votes of the Sunnis. If we have to build the country, we must realize that those whose money was stolen are Sunnis, Shiites, Druze and Christians, and when economic destruction occurred, the Muslim and Christian were destroyed. So we do not talk anymore about separation. After that, who is this group that decided to have the divine center in order to decide who has the right and who is not? I am not presenting myself as a candidate, and absolutely I do not want that, because I refuse to be a partner in this system. We want to represent our people, and talk about the truth of where we arrived and who brought us here. We will continue to laugh at ourselves and the people.

Did you hear me say that I am a candidate for prime minister? People are free to speak whatever they want. I do not want to be a partner in this corrupt system that rules the country”.

MP Roukoz:

President Aoun received MP Shamel Roukoz.

MP Roukoz said “I did not name anyone because I consider that the political system that has worked since past periods until today, has brought the country to what it is today at the social, political, economic and financial levels. This system cannot advance the country. There is a need for a government of independent specialists who are qualified, experienced and aware, who can work through a government reform program that simulates the conditions of the International Monetary Fund and donor countries to properly save the country.

In order for this government to be able to work, it needs exceptional powers. As a member of Parliament, I am aware of the amount of time required to pass each reform law, and how it arrives in one name and is approved in another. From here, I believe that the exceptional powers of a government guarantee the confidence of the political and international communities and the Lebanese people, is the future solution to this issue, knowing that this government arrives seven months before the parliamentary elections, and its role will be to prepare for the elections through the struggle of the titles set by the system since time until today, namely: the rights of the Sunni community, protection of the resistance, and Christian rights.

Therefore, I did not name anyone, and I hope that the next stage of writing to include independent specialists will be outside the current framework, which I consider to be a failure in advance”.

Questions & Answers:

Question: Did you say this to the President of the Republic, and since when have you not seen him?

Answer: “Yes, I said this to the President of the Republic. As for the second part of the question, it is not a series to be discussed every time, as I see it on occasions and these are family matters while I am talking about politics”.

Question: This position brings you closer to other MPs?

Answer: “This is my position for a long time. In the three times of assignment, I took the same decision in terms of demanding a government of specialists and exceptional powers from the Parliament, because I consider that the obstruction that will occur will be a large percentage in the Parliament in preparation for the parliamentary elections”.

Question: Didn’t you find any character to name?

Answer: “I do not want to choose someone for only choosing, and if there is no opportunity for him to head the government, I will not name anyone to burn his name”.

MP Talozian:

President Aoun met MP, Jean Talozian.

MP Talozian said “In light of the circumstances the country is going through, we are facing two choices: Either we want a government or we don’t. However, we have no choice today but to have a government, and that has been for more than nine months. We need an effective government, capable of confronting problems, stopping the collapse, and implementing some reforms through action, not through words. The first step in the process of forming a government, despite the difficulties that may face this formation, we should not stop at them and we must continue the attempt of naming the prime minister.

Today, there is only one serious Sunni figure proposed to take over this task, which in all conditions will be very difficult, and it has the majority of representatives of the Sunni community. I named PM Najib Mikati to form the government. And I say to those who want a government of achievements and to stop the collapse, and to address the various living issues and address the electricity crisis, to hold parliamentary elections on time, or a little earlier, if they have an alternative solution other than talking, please suggest it”.

MP Al-Sayed:

The President received MP, Jamil Al-Sayed.

MP Al-Sayed said: “I was honored to meet His Excellency the President about assigning a new prime minister, and before I say my position, the country is in dire and necessary need for the formation of a government and this is a settled matter. The presence of a government in this fateful and tragic current situation, is a national necessity at all levels, but is it required to establish a government “however?” The answer is definitely no. In relation to the social, administrative, political, constitutional, financial and other tragedies, the country is in real need of an effective, serious government that is able to bear the burden. I have no personal dispute with PM Mikati, but if we decide to choose a new prime minister, we must give him a chance, we hold him accountable or imagine how he used to carry out his duties before and stop at whether he deserves to be named or not. Prime Minister Mikati assumed duties (in 2005, 2011, and now). It seems that he is replacing a lost Premier, and we do not want that because we want a genuine prime minister.

Unfortunately for the Hariri family, when they fail to do something, Prime Minister Najib Mikati appears. Consequently, I realize that governments of this type are considered as transitional only to reach the parliamentary elections. MP Mikati will be named by others, and congratulations for him.

I think that we are going towards clear failure, because the structure will be the same until the elections, unless the countries that promise support if a government is formed, will provide some means and funds through the government so that the Lebanese people will remain alive until the elections are scheduled. Thus, the government will be transitional while preserving the status quo with all its disadvantages. I even said after the president called me yesterday with all decency, and told him not to name him, and he is a good friend on a personal level, but on the level assigned to manage people’s lives, as it is another issue. So I apologized to him.

Questions & Answers:

In response to a question about the age of the next government, he replied that the government is destined to remain for the elections, and there are no circumstances or time for another government at this time, and even if it does not gain confidence, a caretaker government will remain and run the elections, or the current resigned government will remain.

In response to another question about not naming an alternative he said “I considered that in light of the consensus of the political forces concerned with naming PM Mikati, any naming of an alternative by me would be a joke, because it is useless, and even if I appreciate the person I will name, there is no point in doing so in light of the consensus that will assign PM Mikati”.

And he said in response to another question, that "There are no external messages in what we are doing today”.

MP Al-Samad:

President Aoun met MP Jihad Al-Samad.

MP Al-Samad said “Because of my absolute conviction that the obligatory path to confront the fading of the state and the collapse of the people’s standard of living and facing the challenges of the stage is the formation of a national salvation government that enjoys popular acceptance and people’s trust. It did not lead to formation, it became an absolute necessity. Therefore, in line with my basic conviction of the importance of a credible executive authority that communicates with the international community and lending institutions, I decided to name PM Mikati as the most acceptable at this stage”.

“Development & Liberation” bloc:

President Aoun received the Development and Liberation Bloc.

MP Anwar Al-Khalil said: “Speaker Nabih Berri, head of the Development and Liberation Bloc, has always been persistent in launching initiatives for a long time in order to facilitate the way to form a government because it is the sure key to starting the reform process and stopping the catastrophic collapse that has destroyed all the country’s economic, financial and social capabilities, as well as to alleviate the living crisis faced by the people, which is at the core of government work, as the voice of the people must be heard and a quick response to their pain and needs.

Therefore, Speaker Berri and his bloc did not hesitate to support every positive step in line with reaching from this point of view, and because time no longer allows for procrastination or delays, our bloc named PM Najib Mikati, to be the designated president, asking him to succeed in a quick formation and wishing His Excellency the President to be helpful, in agreement with the PM-designate, to restore confidence to the Lebanese, Arab and international community, and then we will be able to extend a hand for financial support with international bodies, and God is the Grantor of success”.

“Strong Lebanon” bloc:

The President of the Republic met “Strong Lebanon” bloc.

MP Gebran Bassil said “In light of the failure of MP Faisal Karami to run for PM, for the reasons that he speaks of, and in light of the failure to continue to name the former Ambassador, Nawwaf Salam, who we had a real direction to follow, and we were We are waiting for some blocs to proceed with it, but the matter has stopped and its elements have not been completed. With the only serious candidate remaining, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, we decided not to name anyone, because we have a previous experience that is not encouraging and we look forward to the reform mission that is disproportionate in this context.

We wish the designated President all success, and that our opinion will be corrected in the performance that we will see, and there will be a rapid formation of the government. We will certainly be supportive and helpful in the rescue and reform mission required of the future government. It is important to stop at a point that is repeated every time, and it is related to the process of the birth of the government. We agree on the stages: assignment, composition and trust, that is, choosing the person of the designated president and forming the government, and on the basis of its program, giving confidence. Three stages, but one process. The right of the deputies and the President of the Republic to have sufficient time, at most one month, before holding the parliamentary consultations, so that they can at least agree on setting a general agreement framework on the formation of the government and its program, even if they erred or did not agree that the mistake would not cost the country 9 or many months. The specified time is a maximum of one month to correct the error or disagreement. It is not permissible for us to remain on this intransigence by not correcting a simple one in the constitution in order to regularize our political life and correct the constitutional mechanisms that govern the formation of the government.

We hope to learn from the experiences, so they will not be repeated, and God willing, the formation will be as quick as nomination, and we will see a government soon, and we will talk more on Wednesday”.

Armenian MP bloc:

The President met the Armenian MPs bloc.

After the meeting, MP Hagop Pakradounian, said: “In a few minutes, PM Mikati will be assigned to form a government based on the votes of the parliamentary majority.

We wish him success and call for the formation of a government away from big proposals that might hinder its formation with the passage of time.

We need a rescue government in every sense of the word, not just a government of elections, but especially a government of reforms, cracking down on corruption, returning looted funds, forensic audit, and moving forward to achieve justice on the issue of the port explosion. A government that relieves people from the social tragedy of living, a government that brings citizens out of humiliation.

With all our respect and appreciation for PM Najib Mikati, we decided not to name anyone, before we know the general perception about getting out of the impasse and the extent to which this perception meets the aspirations of the revolting people who are meant to be brought to their knees”.

Questions & Answers:

In response to a question, he explained that the decision is the Armenian Bloc of Representatives and the Tashnag Party, was always positive. PM Mikati obtained the majority, but we will see the government, its conception, its ministerial statement and its correct representation, and then we will talk about giving confidence.

Asked about the fact that the bloc’s position weakens the Christian cover for PM Mikati Pakradounian said “Last time, we strengthened the Christian cover”.

Assignment Statement:

Afterwards, President Aoun met again with Speaker Berri and briefed him on the results of the binding parliamentary consultations.

Subsequently, the Director-General of the Presidency of the Republic, Dr. Antoine Choucair, read out the assignment statement:

“The General Directorate of the Presidency of the Republic issued the following statement: Pursuant to the provisions of Clause 2/ of Article 53 of the Constitution relating to the nomination of the designated Prime Minister, and since Mr. PM Designated Saad al-Din al-Hariri had apologized on July 15, 2021 for his assignment to form a government.

The President of the Republic conducted the binding parliamentary consultations today, Monday, July 26, 2021, and after he consulted with the Speaker of Parliament and formally informed him of its results, he summoned the PM designate at 5:00pm this afternoon, PM Najib Mikati, to assign him to form a government.

Questions & Answers:

In response to a question, Dr. Choucair clarified that PM Mikati received 72 votes, Nawwaf Salam one vote, 42 deputies didn’t name, and 3 were absent.

Tripartite Meeting:

At five o'clock, Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati arrived at Baabda Palace, to join President Aoun’s meeting with Speaker Berri.

Speaker Berri:

Before leaving Baabda Palace, Speaker Berri told reporters “What counts is forming the government”.

PM Mikati:

After meeting the President, PM Mikati made the following statement:

“His Excellency the President informed me of the results of the binding parliamentary consultations and my assignment to form the new government. I thanked His Excellency and the Speaker and all MPs, those who named me and those who didn’t. I hope that we all cooperate to find the right solutions.

It is necessary for me to constitutionally obtain the confidence of the MPs, but in fact I look forward to the confidence of the people, the confidence of every man and woman, every young man and woman, because I do not have a magic stick and I cannot do wonders. We are in a very difficult situation, and one of the journalists asked me, why am I sad?

Of course, the task is difficult, but I will succeed if we all join efforts and hands together, away from the useless accusations, and whoever has any solution, please do so.

Today, I took this step, and I was familiar with the situation, so I say “Yes, we were on the verge of collapse, and we were in front of a fire that spread daily and almost reached everyone’s homes. So I took on this mission, relying on God, taking the decision to start steps and try to stop the expansion of this fire. As for putting this fire out, we must all cooperate, and we must be together.

I know that this step is difficult, but I am reassured, and I have been studying the issue for a while. If I hadn’t had the required external guarantees, and I was convinced that it was time for someone to be at the forefront of those working to limit this fire, I wouldn’t have done so.

God willing, and with the love of everyone, and all Lebanese men and women, I call that we be together, and the important thing is that we continue, and I am sure that in cooperation with His Excellency the President - and I just spoke to him - we will be able to form the required government, and one of its first tasks is to implement the French initiative, which is in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese economy and its revival.

It remains for me to say that a lot is said in the media and through social media, but I took it upon myself not to respond, and the best of words is what is brief and guides well”.​