BEIRUT: Samir Khatib said Tuesday he was ready to form a new government, hours after Caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri withdrew his candidacy.“I’m ready to assume the mission of forming and leading a government and to serve the country amid these extraordinary circumstances and I will try to rescue the country should there be consensus on my nomination and if the various parties intend to rescue the country,” Khatib, the executive Vice President of the Khatib & Alami engineering firm, said in remarks to MTV.
He added: “I have been contacted by the various parties in order to be tasked with forming the government seeing as I’m unbiased and noncontroversial and because I run a successful firm .” Khatib began his career in the company back in 1972 and became a partner and member of its Board in 1983. During his career at K&A, he played a key role in establishing and managing several office locations for the company, including Tripoli, Algiers, Egypt, Jeddah, and Damascus. Khatib stressed that he is a “secular man,” adding that he has a “special personal relation” with caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Officials from the Free Patriotic Movement, the party founded by Aoun and Hezbollah have accused Hariri of delaying the process by refusing to accept any other candidate for the premiership, a charge Hariri has denied. According to media report former minister Dr Bahij Tabbara was also asked to try and form a government but he decided not to pursue the mission because he felt he could not form the type of cabinet demanded by the revolution. “Let them try someone else he was quoted as saying” . The demonstrators say they will reject any government that consists of representatives of the ruling parties.
Hariri resigned on Oct. 29 amid a popular uprising against the ruling elite, bringing the last government down with him.
President Michel Aoun is yet to set a date for the binding parliamentary consultations. In the statement in which he announced his decision to withdraw,
Hariri called on Aoun to quickly call for consultations.
“I have full hope and confidence, after announcing this clear and decisive decision, that the president of the republic….will immediately call the binding parliamentary consultations” to designate a new prime minister, he said.
Hariri added : “It is clear that what is more dangerous than the major national crisis and sharp economic crisis our country is passing through – and which is preventing us from dealing with these two intertwined crises – is the state of chronic denial being expressed on several occasions over the past few weeks.”