Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Tuesday voiced support for a hybrid government of technocrats and politicians, while criticizing some slogans raised by protesters, and defended his brother-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who faces wide criticism.
Aoun said in a television interview with the channel "MTV" that "the government of technocrats can not determine the policy of the country, and I support the formation of a semi-political and half-technocratic government."
Protesters are raising demands: speeding up the process of forming a competent government without political affiliations, holding early elections, recovering looted funds, and holding corrupt officials accountable.
Aoun did not say when parliamentary consultations would start to nominate a prime minister because "it depends on the answers we will receive from the concerned parties. If we do not receive these answers, we may be delayed" for several days.
Since October 17, Lebanon has witnessed unprecedented demonstrations, with hundreds of thousands demanding the departure of the political class combined.
Demonstrators complain of rampant corruption, poor public services, poor infrastructure and the failure of successive governments to resolve economic crises.
Under the pressure of the street, Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned his government on 29 of last month.
Aoun did not set a date for the start of binding parliamentary consultations to form a new government, angering the demonstrators demanding the formation of a government that includes specialists and independent of political parties.
Yes or no
On the possibility of Hariri's presidency of the new government, Aoun said, "I met with Hariri and found him hesitant between yes and no," adding that he did not know if this position so far.
Aoun said that the slogan "all of you means all", which is raised by the protesters is wrong because Lebanon has people who are competent to promote the country.
The protesters demand the departure of all components of the ruling class, which they consider corrupt and inefficient.
Aoun said a three-point program for state-building should be worked out: combating corruption, improving the economic situation, and establishing a civilian state.
"We are in a contradictory political society, and we do not want to get out of it to new contradictions," he said.
Aoun added, "I appealed to the demonstrators three times to unite the squares and to work together for reforms, and asked them to stay in the squares until they help me, but I do not find a response."
"I am shackled by the contradictions of governance and society, and the corrupt cells are also encircled. Now the people got up, and there is an anchor for imposing reforms."
Regarding Hizbullah, Aoun said that Hizbullah "from 2006 until today is committed to UN Resolution 1701, and does not interfere in Lebanese territory with any matter. Civil war in Lebanon, at least in an era. "
The president did not deny the pressure exerted from abroad on Hezbollah's participation in the government.
He said "they can not force me to get rid of a party that constitutes at least one third of the Lebanese," saying that the international community "ask us things we can not do."
The president's son-in-law
Responding to widespread criticism of his brother-in-law, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, Aoun said that "no one can prevent Basil from his right as the head of the largest parliamentary bloc and put a veto on him in a democratic system." They should not be from the parliament. "
Immediately after Aoun's speech, protesters cut off several roads in central and southern Beirut, Tripoli and the Bekaa.
"People are not convinced by the president's view that there will not be a government at the moment," said Haitham al-Dirzi, 36. "We will once again cut off the roads to put more pressure on the street to topple the president."
In a related context, the Lebanese President met a number of Arab ambassadors, and asked during the meeting to help Arab countries to promote the Lebanese economy.
For its part, the United Nations called for speeding up the formation of a competent government with integrity and confidence of the Lebanese people to be able to seek international assistance.