Report: Berri Refuses to Meet Hariri, Won't Facilitate Government Formation under Aounإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Speaker Nabih Berri has refused to receive al-Mustaqbal Movement chief Saad Hariri after knowing that the ex-PM plans to brief the Speaker on his intention to nominate MP Michel Aoun for the post of the presidency, al-Akhbar daily reported on Wednesday.
The daily said that Hariri had requested to meet Berri and that the latter had accepted. But shortly afterward, head of the Mustaqbal received a message from Berri that said: “No need for our meeting if you wish to tell me that you will be nominating (MP Michel) Aoun. It is better that you receive (Berri's political aide and Finance Minister) Ali Hassan Khalil and discuss whatever you want.”
Khalil had therefore told Hariri during the visit that the Liberation and Development bloc
(of Berri) will not vote in favor of Aoun and is also not committed to name Hariri or anyone else for the premiership.
Media reports said that an agreement to bring Aoun as president would secure Hariri's return to the post of the premiership.
Khalil has also stressed that Berri will not facilitate the formation of a government under Aoun (the founder of the Free Patriotic Movement), according to the daily.
Hariri has been exploring the possibility of endorsing Aoun for several weeks now and on Sunday Education Minister Elias Bou Saab of the FPM announced that Hariri has officially decided to endorse Aoun's presidential bid.
Lebanon has been without a president since the term of Michel Suleiman ended in May 2014 and Hizbullah, Aoun's Change and Reform bloc and some of their allies have been boycotting the parliament's electoral sessions, stripping them of the needed quorum.
Hariri launched an initiative in late 2015 to nominate Marada Movement chief MP Suleiman Franjieh for the presidency but his proposal was met with reservations from the country's main Christian parties as well as Hizbullah.
The supporters of Aoun's presidential bid argue that he is more eligible than Franjieh to become president due to the size of his parliamentary bloc and his bigger influence in the Christian community.