Lebanon's resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Tuesday the withdrawal of his candidacy to be reappointed in the position, The Daily Star reported.
The head of the Future Movement stepped down on Oct. 29, dismantling his government amid a historic and unprecedented uprising against the ruling elite.
"I am committed to the rule 'not myself, but someone else,' to form a new government that speaks to the aspirations of the Lebanese people," Hariri said in the statement released by his office.
The former PM lambasted Lebanon's President Michel Aoun and his Free Patriotic Movement party for falsely blaming him for the delay in the formation of a new government.
Hariri believes the only solution to help Lebanon move past its current economic crisis is a government of experts. He lamented that whenever he proposed names to form a new cabinet, he was accused of plotting to remain in his role based on the "if not me, not anyone else" equation. The resigned PM urged Aoun to quickly hold binding parliamentary consultations and move ahead in naming a new head of government.
Hariri's announcement came on the 41st day of Lebanon's uprising and could cause further political turmoil given that he is supported by several leading parties in the country.
Speaking to StepFeed, independent Beirut-based journalist Kareem Chehayeb explained what the decision could signal at the time being.
"Hariri withdrawing his name from candidacy is definitely going to agitate his political rivals, who mostly backed him. At this point it's clear that the international community and the key political parties in Lebanon agree on the foundation of Cabinet. But it was the allocation of seats and ministries that have held things up, as different political parties are trying to use the current situation advance [sic] to consolidate or maintain their position in Cabinet," Chehayeb explained.
Options are limited in the "typical pool of candidates for the role," the Lebanese journalist believes, something that Hariri could be playing to his advantage. Nominations mainly circle around Sunni men who were previously in power even though people have been calling on the appointment of independent figures.
"Whatever the situation is, it appears more likely that if Hariri [is] out of the mix for good, they may have to appoint someone outside the typical pool of candidates. That said, they’re further limited by the fact that all the names brought up are politicians from Lebanon's existing ruling class. The ongoing political paralysis could exacerbate existing tensions within the country, but, then again, isn't political paralysis part of the status quo in Lebanon," Chehayeb stated.
President Aoun is set to hold consultations on Thursday
Following Hariri's decision, sources in Baabda Palace said President Aoun is set to hold consultations on Thursday to designate a new prime minister.
Many believe the former PM's move serves to push forward Minister of Interior Rayya Al Hassan as a nominee for the role.
Hariri recently made several allusions regarding the fact that women should also be considered for the lead position.
Others think his decision is a tactic used to pressure rivals into accepting specific conditions he wants to bring forth, including the formation of a government made up of technocratic individuals.
Some analysts believe Hariri wants El Hassan to head the transitional government
Others say this is a "pressure tactic"
His decision is a blow to the existing political establishment and its status quo
A few think that regardless of what it means, the move came a bit too late
Lebanon's revolution continues despite obstacles
Hariri's withdrawal comes at a time when tensions are rising in Lebanon on a daily basis. Over the weekend, Hezbollah and Amal Movement supporters launched brutal attacks on protestors who were demanding the immediate formation of a new government by blocking several of the country's roads.
The situation escalated even further after a makeshift roadblock in Jiyyeh caused a horrific accident claiming the lives of two people on Monday.
Identified as Hussein Chalhoub and his sister-in-law Sanaa al-Jundi, the victims were hailed as martyrs by crowds in South Lebanon. They were also mourned by protestors who held candlelit vigils for them in Beirut.
Despite violence and obstacles facing protesters, they were still able to score major victories. People will not leave public spaces until all their demands are met.