Meet Lebanon's Possible New Prime Minister
The four most popular former Lebanese prime ministers have elected Mustapha Adib, a diplomat, as their candidate for the Prime Ministerial position. But, who is Mustapha Adib?
Adib is the President of the Lebanese Association for International Law (ALDI) and has a PhD in law and political science. He has previously conducted studies with the UNDP and has even served as the Lebanese ambassador to Germany.
One of the former PMs, Fouad Siniora, reassures people that Mustapha is capable of rebuilding not only the cabinet but also all that was lost in the devastating blast that seized the lives of at least 190 people and worsened the economic crisis that has led to over 50% of the population starving below the poverty line.
Mr. Mustapha will resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for an approximate $10 bn programme.
A lot rides on the competence of this cabinet, including access to the nearly $300m in emergency humanitarian aid to Beirut that the international community has warned will not be made available until Lebanese authorities commit themselves to reforms demanded by the people.
However, the former prime ministers, who have a strong Sunni Muslim spine and support, displayed their approval of Adib. This is quintessential for him as due to power-sharing laws between the various Islamic sects in Lebanon, the PM must be a Sunni Muslim. Diab had lacked this very support which is seen as a contributing factor to the declaration he made: "I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon."
The other factor was the strong protests caused by his inability to achieve the political and financial reforms that the previous Prime Minister was dethroned for. However, this decision was made within just 7 months, making the head on which the crown will rest significantly heavier.
In light of mass resignations, President Aoun has asked the previous government to act in a caretaker capacity until a new cabinet is formed.
It seems that Hezbollah, the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement i.e the major blocs, seem to support Adib; this may secure him a majority of the seats.
Moreover, as Rami Khouri, a professor at the American University of Beirut says, there are essentially two main forces in Lebanon: "One is Hezbollah and its close allies, and the other one is the protest movement or the revolution as they call themselves - these are all kinds of people but they do represent the majority of the population." This solidifies his chance of winning the upcoming early parliamentary elections.
It is surprising how the parties that couldn't agree upon most issues, agreed upon this Prime Ministerial candidate. In addition, even though his public absence is not a testament to his ability and education, it seems as though he is new to the field and is unfamiliar with navigating his path as a PM, let alone during these tumultuous times.
People are even drawing parallels between Diab and Adib such as Lebanese analyst, Ramez Dagher. He tweeted "Mustapha Adib seems like another Hassan Diab," corroborating this are the facts that Diab and Adib are both lesser-known academics, backed by Hezbollah, and have links to former Prime Minister Najib Mikati; Adib served as an advisor to him in 2000 and Diab was the education minister in his cabinet.
Another concerning factor in Lebanon is its electoral system, which is set up "to protect the political elite in the country" says Al Jazeera's Bernard Smith.
This sparks a tiny inkling that he might become a "Puppet Prime Minister" or make the broken ship sink further. There is also a giant question mark on President Aoun’s resignation, which many fear is not going to happen any time soon. Nonetheless, the citizens' voices are being heard, they are reaping certain benefits of resignations, the system is working at a more efficient speed than usual for the general elections, and most importantly: change is coming.
Reporter: Katyayani Nath