Mufti Tells Khatib There's Sunni Consensus on Naming Hariri
Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan on Sunday told premiership candidate Samir Khatib that there is Sunni “consensus” on naming caretaker PM Saad Hariri to lead the new government.
The Mufti is “among the supporters of PM Saad Hariri, who is exerting efforts to advance Lebanon, and he supports his Arab and international role in this regard,” Khatib said in a statement from Dar al-Fatwa after meeting Daryan.
“I learned from His Eminence that as a result of the meetings, consultations and contacts with the sons of the (Sunni) Muslim community, consensus has been reached on naming PM Saad Hariri to lead the new government,” Khatib added.
“Accordingly, I will head to the Center House to meet with PM Saad Hariri and inform him of this, because he was the one who named me to form a new government, and I thank him for his precious confidence,” Khatib went on to say.
As Khatib’s meeting with Hariri got underway later in the day, MTV reported that Hariri will meet with the political aides of Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah in “the coming hours.”
Speaking after his meeting with Hariri, Khatib said: "When my name was mentioned to be appointed Prime minister-designate, I listened to the wishes of many friends and political leaders. This is an occasion to extend my thanks to President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the leaders who gave me their trust."
"It was natural to conduct a series of contacts with the concerned political parties. These contacts took place over a period of two weeks during which I was subjected to an unfair campaign by some biased people," he lamented.
He added: "After my latest meeting today with Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan, I came to meet with Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who had named me and supported me. I informed him of the position of the Mufti, which I announced from Dar al-Fatwa.”
Khatib concluded: "Thus, I apologize with a very clear conscience for not being able to continue the journey to which I have been nominated, asking God Almighty to protect Lebanon from all evil and to enlighten the consciences and minds of the Lebanese and political leaders to overcome the crisis and reach the shore of safety. I renew my thanks to Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who overwhelmed me with his affection and trust, and who will remain for me a role model in loyalty, patriotism and wise leadership.”
The developments come on the eve of binding parliamentary consultations to pick a new premier.
The main political parties, including Hariri’s al-Mustaqbal Movement, had reached consensus on Khatib’s nomination in recent days.
Hariri stepped down on October 29, bowing to pressure from unprecedented street protests.
The protest movement that has swept the country since October 17 has demanded the appointment of an independent technocrat government and an overhaul of the entire political system.