Lebanon may come full circle as Sunni leaders want caretaker prime minister Saad al-Hariri to lead the next government, Reuters reported on Sunday December 8th.
Businessman Samir Khatib has withdrawn his candidacy to be the next PM, saying that Hariri is the preferred Sunni nominee for the position despite his resignation on October 29th over the unprecedented protests against the corruption of the ruling elite.
Khatib said the Lebanese grand mufti backed Hariri, after a meeting with Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian on Sunday.
"I learnt that as a result of meetings and consultations and contacts with the sons of the Sunni Islamic sect, agreement was reached on nominating Saad al-Hariri to form the coming government,” Khatib said.
Hariri said last week he backed Khatib as consensus appeared to emerge among Lebanon's main parties on his being designated in the formal consultations that President Michel Aoun is due to convene on Monday December 9th.
Hariri has put conditions on accepting to resume the prime-ministerial role, he wants to lead a government of specialist ministers which he believes would be best-placed to deal with the crisis and attract foreign aid.
But Hariri’s opponents, especially the powerful Shi'ite party Hezbollah and President Michael Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, rejected this demand. Both say the government must include politicians.
The economic crisis has escalated in Lebanon given the hard currency shortage which pushed Hariri to appeal to more friendly states to help it to import essential goods.
Hariri wrote to the leaders of Germany, Britain and Spain on Saturday December 7th to request help in securing credit for imports, having made the same appeal on Friday to Saudi Arabia, France, Russia, Turkey, the United States, China, and Egypt.