Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri assured the Lebanese that the government will be formed before the end of the year and slammed reports alleging that its formation will be lengthy, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.
“God willing the government will be formed soon,” he told the daily, and stressed that the process will not consume a lot of time.
To a question that some say that the government may be delayed until the beginning of the new year, he rushed to say: “No, no, it will not be delayed.”
Hariri’s comments met with the assurances of a senior source who told the daily: “If things continue to go well as they are now, the atmospheres surrounding the consultations expect the government to be formed within a two week period at most and before Independence Day (on November 22).”
Hariri was formally tasked with forming a new government on Thursday, after he received a sweeping majority of 116 votes ( out of 126) in the binding parliamentary consultations.
Hariri’s key support had contributed to the election of Aoun as Lebanon’s 13th president on Monday, which ended around two and a half years of presidential and political vacuum.
Hariri’s nomination and Aoun’s election have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.
In a sign that Hariri’s task ahead might not be easy, Hezbollah’s MPs refused to endorse him for the prime minister post, even though his nomination was all-but-assured.
Hariri is likely to struggle with his government’s policy statement, which will have to make reference to Israel, as well as the war in Syria, both potential flashpoints with Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s formula :Army-People-Resistance
Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc called Thursday for preserving “the elements of strength represented in the army, the people and the resistance” in order to “continue the liberation of the rest of the occupied Lebanese land, protect the country and preserve its national sovereignty.”
The bloc made the remark in a statement issued after its weekly meeting and hours after Hariri was officially tasked with forming a new government.
The so-called “army-people-resistance formula ” had stirred controversy during the drafting of the policy statement of Tammam Salam’s government and it might spark new controversy after the formation of the new government.
Commenting on the election of Michel Aoun as president on Monday , the bloc said “holding the presidential election was a major victory for Lebanon and for the will of accord among the Lebanese,” hoping it will be “the beginning of a new era in Lebanon’s political history characterized by national resolve to practice real national sovereignty.”
The bloc also called for the formation of a “unifying national unity government” as soon as possible, saying the government’s priorities should be “the approval of a modern electoral law that achieves fair and comprehensive representation, boosting security and economic stability, and addressing citizens’ living conditions.”
Many analysts are of the opinion that Hezbollah ceased to be a resistance group and has become a mercenary army to serve Iran’s expansion projects in Lebanon and the region.
Aoun pledged to endorse an “independent foreign policy” and to protect Lebanon from “the fires burning across the region.”