Naharnet

Battle over Nominations Rocks Lebanon: Hariri or No Hariri

March 14 and March 8 are locked in a battle over the prime minister nomination: Hariri or no Hariri.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri can head the new government if he pledges to stop the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, Al-Akhbar newspaper on Friday quoted a senior Opposition official as saying.

"We do not want to close the doors completely," the official said.

Hariri "could head the new government until 2013 if he pledges to terminate the plot behind the international tribunal," he added.

But Damascus no longer seems interested in Hariri, pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat reported Friday.

It pointed to statements made by senior Opposition officials quoting Syrian officials as saying that Damascus recommends the nomination of a "neutral" prime minister on condition that he enjoys the support of both Saudi Arabia and Mustaqbal Movement, in a clear reference to former PM Najib Miqati.

Al-Hayat said that Damascus' exclusion of Hariri as prime minister aims to imply that there is an intention to impose a new political reality that would push for intensified Arabic and international contacts with the Syrian leadership in order to restart negotiations – this time on a hot burner.

Meanwhile, An-Nahar newspaper quoted an Opposition source as saying that Hariri can only return as prime minister under conditions.

The source pointed out that the Opposition has "many" nominees for premiership – Omar Karami, Najib Miqati, Mohammed Safadi and Abdul Rahim Mrad.

"While a statement from Hariri would have been enough in the previous stage, he now has to meet a handful of conditions," one Opposition source told An-Nahar.


Copyright © 2012 Naharnet.com. All Rights Reserved. http://www.naharnet.com/stories/en/2084