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  • 1/24/2011

Lebanon MPs to talk over next premier


Lebanese parliamentarians are due to begin talks over the country's next prime minster after the recent collapse of Premier Saad Hariri's cabinet.

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman is set to launch parliamentary talks on Monday in an effort to decide on who to appoint as the country's next prime minister.

Hariri's government collapsed on January 12 after 11 ministers from Hezbollah and its allies quit the cabinet over tensions stemming from the US-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), which is probing the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

Lebanon's major political groups have questioned the STL's credibility and accused the tribunal of seeking to sow discord in the country.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah pledged the movement's support for national unity and called on the international community to follow suit ahead of the parliamentary consultations.

Nasrullah, referred to Monday's and Tuesday's parliamentary sessions to elect the new premier, saying that if the opposition candidate was elected as prime minister, he would form a national unity government.

Also on Sunday, Lebanon's Druze leader Walid Jumblatt threw his full support behind Hezbollah to ease the country's struggles for picking a new premier.

Considered a kingmaker in Lebanese politics, Jumblatt's support is crucial to decide who forms the new government out of the two rivals: caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, or the opposition led by the Hezbollah resistance movement.

According to Lebanon's constitution, candidates need the support of at least 65 lawmakers to form a government in the country's 128-seat parliament.

Hezbollah and its allies already claim 57 seats against 60 for Saad Hariri's Western- and Saudi-backed coalition.

The caretaker prime minister said on Thursday that he would seek the post again.

In the latest development, the former Lebanese premier, Najib Mikati, has declared his candidacy to head the next government.

Makati says he is stepping forward as a consensual candidate, promising to cooperate with all parties to help bring the country out of its current political stalemate.

Makati served as Lebanon's premier for three months in 2005 after the departure of the Syrian forces from the country.

Source: presstv.ir

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