| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

After 9 months on assignment, back to square zero

After 9 months on the assignment, the apology became a reality, Prime Minister Saad Hariri apologized and refused a new deadline by President Michel Aoun. Baabda Palace sources consider that Prime Minister Hariri was the one who disrupted matters and not Baabda Palace.

Hariri’s apology means that the President of the Republic rejected the line-up, and the reasons are the two Christian ministers whom Aoun remained insisting on naming them, and the blocking third. The palace circles intended to deal with apparent softness regarding the formation, but refused to give the President of the Republic a deadline. In return, Hariri understood the attempts to embarrass him and was certain that the president’s insistence on amending the formation, means that he does not want a government, and does not want Hariri to head a government. That was noted in what Baabda sources told us, “if Hariri knew for sure that he is the one for this stage, he wouldn’t have apologized.”

Some information indicates that Hariri returned from Cairo, with a prior intention to apologize. He did not accept Sisi’s advice to wait and not apologize, as he assured the President of the Republic of Egypt that Aoun will not facilitate formation, and that Hezbollah does not want a government now. The Republican Palace sources confirm that – from the end- the designated president does not want to form with the President. As for the details of the meeting, the President informed Hariri of his observations on the lineup and told Hariri, “It is different from what was previously agreed upon, according to President Nabih Berri’s initiative,” but Hariri insisted on the changes he made to the lineup after its number increased from 18 to 24 ministers. President Aoun asked to reconsider these points, but Hariri adhered to his stance and insisted on the formation as it is. Hariri suggested to the President to this about it for one day, Aoun asked him, Is the time limit for thinking about making the amendments? Hariri replied, “I will not change the formation.” Aoun replied, “Why then do you ask me for a time to think as long as you don’t want to change?” then, Hariri insisted on apologizing, and Aoun told him “do whatever suits you.”

Waiting for Hariri to present the details of what happened and to tell the truth, as he has said, Baabda sources confirm to “Sawt Beirut International” that Hariri is not ready to change anything in his lineup, as he also  rejects any discussion or to give time to do some research about the proposed names,  especially since most of these names are not known by the President. And the “take it or leave it” theory does not work with the president. But what after the apology? Baabda sources confirm heading towards   quick parliamentary consultations and forming a government, but there are no consultations without an alternative, and the sources seem confident that consultations will take place and will not be delayed, knowing that choosing an alternative will be a difficult – if not say impossible- task, if there is no international, Arab and even internal Sunni guarantee for it. And thus, the reality’s closest scenario will be, the continuation of the Diab government until the parliamentary elections.