Hariri met with Jumblatt


Lebanon Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri met with Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt at the latter’s Clemenceau residence before heading to Baabda to meet with President Michel Suleiman, NBN television reported on Friday .

However, the report did not elaborate any further.

This comes after Jumblatt met yesterday with Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah , Hezbollah Secretary General to discuss how to deal with the current political stage .

Lebanon’s president asked Hariri to stay on as caretaker prime minister on Thursday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned in a dispute over an investigation into the killing of Hariri’s father. A statement issued by President Michel Suleiman called on the government to “continue in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed”.

Lebanon’s government is dissolved when more than one third of its 30 cabinet members resign, and on Wednesday all 10 ministers belonging to the Iranian backed Hezbollah-led opposition announced their resignations. Hours later, they were joined by an eleventh minister representing Lebanese president Michel Suleiman, forcing the collapse of PM Saad Hariri’s government.

Saudi and Syrian officials have reportedly been working on a compromise that would resolve tensions in Lebanon over the imminent Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment . Reports say that the STL may soon indict Hezbollah members in its investigation of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, father of Saad the current prime minister.

Hezbollah asked MP Michel Aoun to announce on Tuesday the failure of the Saudi-Syrian initiative and to blame March 14 alliance for the failure.

“The Lebanese president will begin consultations with lawmakers at 12:00 p.m. on Monday January 17 to designate a new prime minister”, parliament speaker Nabih Berri said after meeting President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda palace .

Former Lebanese premier and current Future Movement parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora, told Al Arabiya TV on Wednesday evening : “Based on all available data there is no substitute for Saad Hariri to head the new government.”

Hezbollah according to reports has someone else in mind to lead the new government . Hezbollah MP Mohammed Raad unveiled on Thursday that the March 8 forces will name a personality with a history of national resistance to head the new government . Raad told reporters after meeting former President Emile Lahoud in response to a question on who will that be : “A personality with a national resistance biography, ” Raad said.

Jumblatt told AFP on Thursday that it is too early to say whom his Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc will nominate for the country’s premiership.

“When the consultations on naming a new premier begin, we’ll see.” He said

Hariri’s “March 14″ coalition won a majority in the 128-seat assembly in a 2009 election, but Jumblatt who was a central figure in the Cedar Revolution has since defected. He claimed initially that he will be a centrist , but during the past few months he has been leaning more towards the Hezbollah led opposition, but…. unlike Hezbollah and its allies his 3 ministers did not resign from the cabinet on Wednesday.

Political observers of the Shouf area believe that Jumblatt has no choice other than Hariri if he wants to be reelected to the parliament next time. According to the observers the majority of the MPS in the bloc maintain excellent relations with Hariri and his March 14 alliance.

Reports circulated yesterday that March 8 coalition MPs will nominate Former Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Mrad , a staunch ally of Syria for the premiership.