Hezbollah not to back new Hariri government

Nasrallah said his group and its allies would not back caretaker prime minister Saad al-Hariri to form a new government in talks expected to begin on Monday.

Hezbollah not to back new Hariri government

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday his group and its allies would not back caretaker prime minister Saad al-Hariri to form a new government in talks expected to begin on Monday.

Hariri's government collapsed on Wednesday when Hezbollah and its allies resigned in a dispute over indictments expected to be issued by a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father.

Hezbollah has several times denounced the Netherlands-based tribunal as a conspiracy by the US and Israel.

The indictments are expected to be issued early next week, and to accuse some members of the group.

Hezbollah had asked Hariri to repudiate the indictment and withdraw cooperation, but he has refused.

Nasrallah said leaders of several countries had intervened to demand that Hariri, who enjoys support from Western countries and regional power broker Saudi Arabia, be nominated to form another government.

But he said that "the opposition unanimously will not name Hariri tomorrow" as candidate for prime minister.

"It was a must to topple the incapable government because bringing it down might -- and I say 'might' -- open the door for Lebanon to form a loyal government," he said.

Nasrallah declined to say who Hezbollah and its allies would support as candidate for prime minister -- who under Lebanon's constitution must be a Sunni Muslim -- but a senior political source told Reuters news agency, they were planning to put forward Omar Karami.

Karami, a pro-Syrian politician from the northern city of Tripoli, has served as prime minister twice before. He resigned two weeks after Rafik al-Hariri was killed in February 2005, amid strikes and anti-Syrian protests.

"Talks for new govt"

President Michel Suleiman has called parliamentarians for consultations on Monday on forming a new government. Hariri's bloc says he is its only candidate.

The government collapsed on Wednesday when 11 ministers quit after Saudi Arabia and Syria failed to forge a deal over the tribunal. The president must nominate a new prime minister after consultations with members of parliament.

Hariri's coalition won a majority in a 2009 election, but since then Druze leader Waleed Jumblatt, who was Hariri's strongest ally and heads a bloc of 11 deputies, has declared himself neutral.

"Lebanon is a country of compromises and there will not be a government from one side," Jumblatt told Hezbollah's al-Manar television by telephone after Nasrallah's speech.

Analysts say that Hezbollah and its allies, who have 57 of parliament's 128 seats, will need the backing of Jumblatt's bloc to secure a majority.


Agencies

 

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Last Mod: 17 Ocak 2011, 17:33
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