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Report: Parliamentary Consultations Next Step for Lebanon

Deliberations to set a date early next week for Lebanon’s parliamentary consultations with President Michel Aoun intensified amid reports that Aoun did not “veto” appointing the now-caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat reported on Friday.

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Aoun Urges Conflict-Free Harmonious Government, Warns against Exploiting Protests

President Michel Aoun on Thursday said the country's next cabinet should include ministers picked on skills, not political affiliation, seemingly endorsing the demand by a two-week-old protest movement for a technocratic government.

"Ministers should be selected based on their qualifications and experience, not their political loyalties," Aoun said in a televised speech on the third anniversary of his presidency.

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Mustaqbal Slams 'Militia-Style' Attacks on Protesters, Urges Supporters Not to Block Roads

Al-Mustaqbal Movement’s political bureau on Thursday hailed the “peaceful” nature of the “popular uprising” despite what it called “militia-style attempts to harm it, derail it from its patriotic course and sectarianize it,” in reference to Hizbullah and AMAL Movement’s attacks on protesters.

The politburo, which convened under caretaker PM Saad Hariri, emphasized “the patriotic identity of the popular protest movement in all regions,” saying it has strongly succeeded in “overcoming sectarian alignments and the barriers of blind loyalties.”

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Hizbullah Bloc Says Hariri Resignation Wastes Reform Time

Hizbullah's parliamentary bloc on Thursday criticized Prime Minister Saad Hariri's resignation, saying it would "contribute to wasting the time available to implement reforms," complicating efforts to resolve the crisis.

In a statement issued after its weekly meeting, the Loyalty to Resistance bloc added that security forces must protect people's right to express themselves as well as "their right to move freely in all areas of the country."

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Geagea Says 'Revolution' is 'Purely Lebanese', System Change Not on Table

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has stressed that “the revolution that has erupted in Lebanon was, is still, and will remain a purely Lebanese revolution.”

“It started spontaneously and voluntarily and it is about to produce some leaders from among its ranks,” Geagea said in an interview with Emirati newspaper al-Ittihad.

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Authorities Struggle to Reopen Roads as Lebanon Sit-Ins, Marches Continue

Lebanese security forces were still struggling to open some roads Thursday as protesters continued their civil disobedience campaign in support of nationwide anti-government demonstrations.

Protesters meanwhile staged a rally outside the central bank in Beirut’s Hamra area before marching to the Ring highway and Martyrs Square in downtown Beirut – areas which have witnessed attacks on protesters by supporters of Hizbullah and the AMAL Movement.

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Presidency Says Aoun Working on 'Facilitating' Parliamentary Consultations

President Michel Aoun is delaying the binding parliamentary consultations for choosing a new premier in order to “facilitate” them, the Presidency said on Thursday, after protesters on the streets slammed perceived procrastination.

“President Michel Aoun is carrying out the necessary efforts ahead of setting a date for the binding parliamentary consultations… in order to facilitate these consultations,” the Presidency said in a statement.

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Hizbullah Fires Missile at Israeli Drone over Nabatiyeh

Hizbullah on Thursday said its fighters used the "appropriate weapons" to confront an Israeli drone over south Lebanon, "forcing it to leave Lebanese airspace."

The Israeli army had earlier acknowledged that one of its drones came under fire in Lebanese airspace.

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France Urges Lebanese Authorities to Accelerate Govt. Formation

France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian urged Lebanese authorities to expedite the formation of the government as he defended the Lebanese’s right for peaceful demonstrations.

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Report: Hariri’s Resignation Was 'No Secret' to Political Parties

Political contacts between officials have reportedly turned to a halt mainly after the resignation of PM Saad Hariri, which came amid nationwide protests against the political class, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Thursday.

Center House circles, close to Hariri, told the daily that contacts between officials were severed. They rejected reports that the resignation was infused by foreign pressures.

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