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Tammam salam def 186 Lebanese MPs nominated MP Tammam Salam for the premiership on the first day of the parliamentary consultations at the Baabda presidential Palace.

The consultations kicked off on Friday and will continue on Saturday.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, stated after meeting with President Michel Suleiman that he nominates Salam for the premiership.

“We are looking forward to achieving a positive shock in Lebanon, which entails nominating Salam to head a new government,” he told reporters at the Baabda Palace.

Mikati emphasized the importance of the transition of power in Lebanon: “Some say that I am the victim in this entire process, but I did not head the premiership to pursue personal goals. I have no regrets”.

Speaker Nabih Berri and his Development and Liberation bloc also named MP Salam to head the cabinet.

Deputy Speaker MP Farid Makari who also nominated Salam hoped that the Beirut lawmaker would succeed in forming a government that will oversee the elections and “cater to the country’s needs”.

tammam slam with father Saeb
PM Nominee Tammam Salam seen here with his father the late Saeb Salam, who served six times as Lebanon PM

Makari added: “We hope that we will witness the rise of one Lebanon, not two. We hope the formation of the government will be as easy as Salam’s nomination”. Salam’s father the late Saeb Salam is known for the famous saying: “One Lebanon not two”

Makari stressed that the Baabda Declaration should be the new cabinet’s ministerial statement.

The Change and Reform bloc which is headed by MP Michel Aoun also nominated Salam.

“We nominated Salam and we believe that his nomination will restore national unity in Lebanon,” the bloc’s MP Ibrahim Kanaan said after meeting with the president.

Aoun announced earlier that he will support Salam but said that he will boycott the consultations because “he feels like it”.

LBCI television remarked that Aoun’s vote for Salam did not count because he is required to hand over a written consent over the matter.

Future Movement was the second Parliamentary bloc to meet with President Suleiman and it’s leader MP Fouad Siniora told reporters that the lawmakers’ nominations of Salam “stems from their commitment to Lebanon, its democracy, and sovereignty”.

“The current situation obligates the formation of a government capable of restoring trust among the people and of confronting the challenges it will face,” Siniora said.

“The new government will be obligated to hold the elections to restore the functioning of state institutions and authority of the state and tackle daily concerns”.

LBCI reported that six Future Movement MPs did not attend the Baabda Palace consultations, but they sent written authorizations to name Salam.

These MPs are: Bahia Hariri, Saad Hariri, Jamal al-Jarrah, Nouhad al-Mashnouq, Mohammed Hajjar, and Oqab Saqr.

Saad Hariri phoned the president and informed him personally about his decision of nominating Salam for premiership, al-Jadeed television reported on Friday.

President Suleiman then met with Hezbollah’ parliamentary bloc. Its leader MP Mohammed Raad later declared that his bloc nominated Salam for premiership.

President Suleiman then met with The National Struggle Front, accompanied by MP Henry Helou who recently joined the bloc. The leader of the bloc MP Walid Jumblatt said after meeting with Suleiman: “We have nominated Mr. Tammam Salam”.

He added: “The bloc lauds the tremendous efforts exerted by ex-PM Najib Mikati to preserve stability”.

The last MPs to meet with the president on the first day of the parliamentary consultations were Michel Murr and Nayla Tueni who also named Salam for premiership.

“Tammam Salam has a long history in the educational and political fields, and we support him in designation and in the formation of the cabinet,” Murr told reporters.

Regarding the new cabinet, he remarked that it must be a “national unity government that abides by the Baabda Declaration”.

“No one must obstruct the formation of a unity cabinet,” Murr stressed.

Jumblatt’s role

According to local media reports PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt engineered the nomination of Salam with the help of Hariri.

He reportedly was offered a list containing the following 3 names by former PM Saad Hariri as possible nominees for PM:

Ashraf Rifi , a retired General who headed the Internal Security Forces

Khaled Qabbani, a former Culture Minister

Tammam Salam, a former MP and minister

Jumblatt reportedly picked Salam, sold the idea to Speaker Nabih Berri who in turn marketed Salam within the March 8 alliance.

Saudi Arabia according to Jumblatt ( who sent his son Taymour and ministers Ghazi Aridi and Wael Abou Faour to the kingdom earlier this week) wanted General Rifi , but he picked Salam , because he considers him a centrist figure

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