By Mohamamd mazhari

The process for naming Mostafa Adib as PM carries great weight: Lebanese analyst

September 1, 2020 - 23:58

TEHRAN – Faysal Abdelsater, a Lebanese analyst, is of the opinion that the steps for naming Mostafa Adib as a man who will head the Lebanese government carries an important message as "it has the endorsement of considerable majority in the Lebanese parliament."

On August 31, the Future Movement, Hezbollah, Amal Movement, and the Free Patriotic Movement, as well as Progressive Socialist Party in Lebanon, all agreed to name Mustafa Adib as the next prime minister of Lebanon, succeeding Hassan Diab. 

Adib, the former Lebanese ambassador to Germany, holds a doctorate in political science, and he worked as director of the office of former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Adib, who was tasked on Monday to form a new government, is an unknown figure among the Lebanese, facing an almost impossible task of bringing about political change and making urgent reforms to save the country from an unprecedented crisis.

Abdelsater tells the Tehran Times that even though the prime-minister designate enjoys a strong support by the political factions in the parliament, “we are not going through a structural or fundamental change in Lebanese politics." 

This is the text of the interview:

Q: What are the latest developments regarding the naming of a new prime minister in Lebanon?

A: Of course, the Lebanese were able to conduct binding parliamentary consultations that were held in Baabda Palace ( the official residence of the president of Lebanon), and the legislators from rival blocs proposed the name of the person they wanted to head the upcoming Lebanese government in order to send it to President Michel Aoun. 

Therefore, the prime minister-designate, Ambassador Dr. Mustafa Adib, won ninety votes out of 128 votes in the Parliament, while just a few voices went to the former Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations, Nawaf Salam, who was named by the Lebanese Forces bloc headed by Samir Geagea. 

In any case, this result carry important implications as it has the endorsement of a considerable majority in the Lebanese Parliament. According to the prime minister-designate, what is important now is that things should be translated into action and not remain just as promises.

The Lebanese are eager to get out of the problems that they are facing at all levels, especially in the economic and financial ones.

Q: Do you see a strong consensus between Lebanon's main political currents on naming the next head of government?

A: Of course, this consensus would not have been possible, and the result would not have emerged today if there were not proactive consultations and initiatives undertaken by French President Emmanuel Macron. 

According to some reports, Macron established a series of contacts, perhaps with certain countries in the European Union and even Iran. So, this designation did not come out of anywhere but rather was the result of France’s open consultations and collaborations with the Lebanese parties.

Q: Don’t you think that the next government will be like the Hassan Diab government, who resigned after the Beirut blast on August 4?

A: No. The situation seems different because the former Prime Minister Hassan Diab did not enjoy Sunni support for his government, as Lebanese Sunni leaders such as Saad Hariri and the rest of the other figures who have the popular weight in the Sunni community did not support Hassan Diab. 

Therefore, the matter is different here because the size of the consensus that Ambassador Dr. Mustafa Adib could gain must be translated into the cooperation and support of all parties. They should not be satisfied with naming the prime minister without addressing his chances of forming the government as soon as possible. The government must be consistent and able to provide the required solutions to contain the harsh conditions the Lebanese people are experiencing.

Q: Could you talk more about the French role in naming Mustafa Adib?

A: According to my information, France had a pivotal role in naming Adib, and it was the one who chose this name and recommended it to the Lebanese parties to be studied in Parliament. This is the joint cooperation that took place as a result of the French initiative after President Macron's visit to Lebanon following the August 4 explosion in Beirut port.

Q: Is it acceptable for another country to get involved in naming the prime minister of Lebanon?

A: Unfortunately, our experiences have shown that small countries like Lebanon are forming their governments, and choosing their prime ministers are subject to well-known foreign interference. Throughout the Syrian presence in Lebanon, Syria had the final say. Before that, Egypt had a role in this regard, then Saudi Arabia began to intervene in Lebanon, and also Iran is a key player in the Lebanese political scene. 

Altogether, the issue is not about who moves and takes the initiative, and perhaps this matter is not acceptable to some countries, but people have become accustomed to it in Lebanon. I do not think that it makes a problem as long as the issue remains in a Lebanese framework.

Q: What are the repercussions and implications of the Beirut blast for Lebanon's political future?

A:The Beirut port explosion on August 4 may have been a disaster that no one expected in Lebanon, and until now, investigations have not produced anything about this issue.

The constant propaganda by some Lebanese and Arab media outlets still wants to convey this idea that this explosion would not have happened if there were no missiles and weapons of Hezbollah inside the port, and this is what the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has repeatedly denied. But, some mercenaries in the media insist on such lies.

Of course, the great disaster that occurred in Beirut port requires concerted efforts at all levels to restore the confidence and vitality of the country, and this also needs international and regional support from all countries that want to stand by Lebanon.

 So far, we have only seen food aid and some medical aid, but this is not enough to change the catastrophic reality in Lebanon. What is required is transparent international support at financial level and reconstruction in the affected areas. 

The most important demands are to stop the U.S. sanctions that have been harmful to many sectors inside Lebanon. This process affects the nature of economic trends at the political level in Lebanon; therefore, this is completely unacceptable.

Q: Do you expect fundamental changes in Lebanon’s political structure?

A: I do not think that this is the time when we talk about such a matter, especially since the people have been greatly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, and there are great disputes that prevented forming a consensus of visions in Lebanon, but there are still attempts to have some reforms if they are suggested through the framework of the constitution. Disseminating slogans and making speeches may not be helpful at this time.

 Therefore, we are not going through a structural or fundamental change in Lebanese politics. Rather, we are facing a different scene and perhaps certain changes, but there will be no essential change in the foreseeable future.

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