Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s formal consultations with parliamentary blocks to designate a new prime minister – previously scheduled for Monday – will not go ahead and will be postponed until December 16, Al Arabiya sources confirmed.
Late on Sunday, a statement was issued by the presidency’s directorate general saying: “In light of the new developments on the government situation, and at the request of most major parliamentary blocs, and in order to give time for further consultations and contacts, President Michel Aoun decided to postpone the binding parliamentary consultations, scheduled for tomorrow, Monday, December 9, until Monday, December 16.”
This comes after businessman Samir Khatib formally withdrew his candidacy to head a new government following a meeting with Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri in Beirut on Sunday.
The president has called for mandatory parliamentary consultations starting on Monday to decide on a new premier.
A number of parliamentary blocs requested Aoun that he postpone the consultations.
The parliamentary bloc of the Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said it will boycott the consultations which were scheduled for Monday, while Kataeb Party’s leader and member of parliament Sami Gemayel rejected the naming of Saad Hariri as the head of the new government, demanding an independent figure.
On Sunday evening, dozens of protesters gathered in central Beirut near a road leading to parliament closed off by security forces.
Cabinet formation can drag on for months in the multi-confessional country, with Hariri taking almost nine months to reach an agreement with all political sides for the last one.