AUB professor Hassan Diab has emerged as the favorite to be nominated as the next prime minister, a senior political source said Wednesday night.
Diab’s name was proposed and agreed between Hezbollah, Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement and their allies. He is expected to be designated after President Michel Aoun holds long delayed binding parliamentary consultations Thursday with more than 60 votes, the source said.
Diab was born into a Sunni family in Beirut in 1959.
Has a bachelor of science degree in communications engineering, which he received from Leeds Metropolitan University in 1981.
Diab is an electrical engineering professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He also served as vice president for regional external programs at the AUB from October 2006 to June 2011. On 13 June 2011, he was appointed minister of education and higher education as part of Najib Mikati’s cabinet, replacing Hasan Mneimneh. Diab’s term ended on 15 February 2014.
This development comes after caretaker PM Saad Hariri said Wednesday he would not seek to stay on as prime minister, ahead of much-delayed consultations to give the protest-wracked country a new government.
But he said his name was drawing too much opposition for him to be a candidate when official consultations to pick a new line-up begin on Thursday.
“I have strived to meet their demand for a government of experts, which I saw as the only option to address the serious social and economic crisis our country faces,” Hariri said.
The protests that erupted on October 17 in Lebanon have advocated a more national civic identity to replace the sectarian and nepotist system that defines Lebanese politics.
The power-sharing system that was enshrined after the end of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war means that the prime minister’s position should be filled by a member of the Sunni Muslim community.
Designating a PM is the first step in forming a government. It remains to be seen whether the protesters will accept Diab or reject him . Their motto is “all of them “. Whether the protesters will consider Diab as one of the politicians since he is a former minister remains to be seen .
The protesters insist on a transitional technocratic cabinet of neutral experts , but Hezbollah and its allies are insisting on a technocrat political cabinet . If this is the case analysts expect a one color March 8 cabinet since the March 14 political parties may decide not to be part of the cabinet . Hariri’s future Movement already reportedly announced that it will not name a candidate.
Lebanon’s economy has been sliding towards default in recent weeks but the main political parties have so far failed to respond to calls from the street and international partners by forming a credible cabinet capable of undertaking key reforms.