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Prime Minister Saad Hariri at his press conference in Beirut on October 29, 2019, after announcing his resignation. REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir

President Michel Aoun has postponed the parliamentary consultations for the appointment of a new Prime Minister, scheduled for Monday, December 9, after the withdrawal of the only candidate for this position.

Who else to lead the government? Unable to be supported by Sheikh Abdel Latif Darian, Mufti of the Lebanese Republic, the businessman Samir al-Khatib had to throw in the towel. Saad Hariri remains the only candidate recognized by Sunni political and religious circles as prime minister, a function reserved for a member of this community in the Lebanese confessional system.

The two main Shiite parties, Hezbollah and the Amal movement of parliament speaker Nabih Berry, also prefer the return to power of Saad Hariri. The latter also enjoys the support of the presidential camp of Michel Aoun. But the head of the resigning government said at the end of November that he did not want to be a candidate .

This blockage is due to differences between political forces over the nature of the next government. Saad Hariri wants a cabinet of technocrats, with extended prerogatives, particularly in the legislative field. The presidential camp and the Shia formations plead for a government of specialists, in the presence of representatives of the main political parties.

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Back to square one

It has been 50 days since negotiations have been around this issue. President Michel Aoun has postponed parliamentary consultations for one week to appoint a new Prime Minister to give a chance to an agreement on the nature of government.

Meanwhile, the protest movement against the political class continues on the street, and the economic and financial collapse is accelerating.

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