Hezbollah vows unity government in Lebanon

Lebanese MPs begin consulting on choosing a new prime minister.

Hezbollah vows unity government in Lebanon

Hezbollah vowed on Sunday to include its political rivals in Lebanon's government if its candidate emerges as premier, hours before MPs were to be consulted on choosing a new prime minister.

Hezbollah and its allies will not exclude any political party if its candidate for prime minister wins a parliamentary majority in talks starting on Monday, the group's chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said.

"To dispel any illusions ... we in the opposition will look for a partnership government if (our) candidate wins the parliamentarian majority. We do not call for a government from one side and for excluding any political party," Nasrallah said.

Lebanese officials said that pro-Syrian politician Omar Karami was the group's candidate for the job but Nasrallah said that Karami had asked them to look for another.

He declined to say who their candidate would be but sources said they were planning to put forward former prime minister Najib Mikati, a telecoms tycoon, according to Reuters news agency.

Mikati served as caretaker prime minister in April 2005, when an outcry over Rafik Hariri's death forced Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon. He served for three months until the election which Saad Hariri's coalition won on the back of an electoral pact with Shi'ite factions Hezbollah and Amal.

"Respect"

Hezbollah and its allies brought down the government of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in a dispute over still confidential indictments by a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 killing of statesman Rafik al-Hariri, Saad's father.

Two days of mediation over the current crisis by Qatari and Turkish ministers ended in failure on Thursday, after Riyadh and Damascus failed to reach a deal to contain tensions over the indictment.

Nasrallah said in the past few days many countries had intervened in Lebanon's affairs trying to push for Hariri.

"If the opposition's candidate wins the majority...I call on the world to respect the constitutional institutions and the will of the majority of the Lebanese and that the new prime minister be given a chance to form a new government," he said.

The indictments are widely expected to accuse members of Hezbollah, which denies any links to the killing and says the tribunal is serving U.S. and Israeli interests.

Hezbollah had asked Hariri to repudiate the indictment and cut Lebanon's ties with the tribunal, but he refused.

The group, which was part of Hariri's unity government formed in late 2009, said it will not back him to form a new government. Hariri said he will still seek the premiership.

Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said on Friday he will back Hezbollah, giving the group and its allies, who have 57 seats in parliament, a likely majority to endorse a politician of their choice to form a new government.

It was not clear if Hariri and his allies would accept to be part of Hezbollah-led government.


Agencies

Last Mod: 24 Ocak 2011, 16:59
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