Lebanese PM Calls for his Predecessor Hariri to Return to Power
Lebanon's outgoing Prime Minister Salim Hoss has called for his predecessor Rafiq Hariri, who beat him in recent legislative elections, to head of the country's next government, a Beirut newspaper said Tuesday.
"It is natural, even necessary that former prime minister Rafiq Hariri heads the new government," Hoss told the leading An-Nahar newspaper.
"I am not a candidate to the premiership and I do not want it," Hoss added.
Hariri has been widely expected to head Lebanon's next government, although publicly he has said the matter was still "premature."
The government headed by Hoss, who suffered a harsh defeat during parliamentary elections two weeks ago, has to stand down as soon as the new parliament convenes October 17.
The next prime minister must be chosen by the head of state following parliamentary consultations, whose results are binding.
Hariri, a billionaire construction tycoon, was prime minister for an unbroken six-year period ending in 1998, when he refused to continue after the election of President Emile Lahoud.
Lahoud and Hoss have repeatedly held the Hariri government, which launched the country's post-war multibillion-dollar rebuilding program, responsible for the economic crisis in Lebanon through money squandering and corruption.
But the Hoss government was not able to rein in the fast burgeoning public debt, which should reach 25 billion dollars by the end of the year - BEIRUT (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)