Report: Mikati won Maronite patriarch's 'blessing' despite FPM-LF snub


Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati won Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s “blessing” for his nomination to form the new government although he was not named in the binding consultations by the country’s two biggest Christian parties – the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, media reports said.

Prior to his designation, Mikati “engaged in dialogue with the LF and sought indirect talks with the FPM, relying on Hizbullah’s assistance,” al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday.

“He also tried to benefit from Speaker Nabih Berri’s special relation with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat and held contacts with religious leaders, most notably Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi, with the aim of obtaining support for his program, proposing anew a government reshuffle that would allow the entry of new forces into the government and reiterating his readiness to head a national unity cabinet,” the daily added.

It also quoted sources close to Mikati as saying that he “won the support of the Amal and Hizbullah duo and also the ‘blessing’ of the Maronite patriarch.”

“But he knows that the negotiations with the FPM will be difficult,” the sources added.

He meanwhile “does not know until the moment whether the stance of the PSP and the LF is final as to refusing to take part in the government,” the sources went on to say.

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