Lebanese ambassador Adib emerges as front-runner to be PM

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib looks set to be designated prime minister at formal consultations on Monday after winning political backing from the main Sunni Muslim party, the Future Movement.

Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni according to the country’s sectarian system. The government led by Hassan Diab quit earlier this month following the catastrophic explosion at Beirut port that killed some 190 people.

Lebanon is grappling with a financial meltdown that has devastated the economy and is seen as the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

If the designation goes ahead without last minute complications, Adib will be nominated before a visit to Beirut on Monday by French President Emmanuel Macron, who is leading efforts to press Lebanese leaders to reform.

The Future Movement, led by former premier Saad al-Hariri, announced its support for Adib after a meeting of its parliamentary bloc on Sunday.

The Iran-backed Shi’ite party Hezbollah and its Shi’ite ally the Amal Movement will also nominate Adib in the consultations, a senior Shi’ite source told Reuters.

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President Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian allied with Hezbollah, is required to designate the candidate with the greatest level of support among MPs at Monday’s consultations.

Once designated, the process of forming a new government will get underway. Until a new administration is agreed, the Diab government continues in a caretaker capacity.

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