Lebanese ambassador to Germany Mustapha Adib appeared slated to become the crisis-stricken country's next prime minister after securing the major support of senior Sunni politicians on Sunday, reports AP.
Adib, 48, was named by four former prime ministers on the eve of binding consultations between the president and parliamentary blocs on their choice for the post.
The announcement came a day before French President Emmanuel Macron was due to arrive for a two day-visit, during which he is expected to press Lebanese officials to formulate a new political pact to pull the country out of its multiple crises, political stalemates, and entrenched corruption and of mismanagement.
It will be Macron’s second visit to the former French protectorate in less than a month.
He came days after the devastating August 4 blast in the port of Beirut that killed 190 people, wounded 6,000 and pulverised parts of the capital. The government resigned less than a week after the blast.
Earlier Sunday, the head of the powerful Hezbollah group Hassan Nasrallah said his Shiite organisation will cooperate and facilitate the formation of a government that would be able to improve economic conditions and undertake major reforms.
Hezbollah and its allies backed the outgoing government.
Adib is the only name to emerge so far as a favourite for the post of prime minister, who according to Lebanon’s sectarian-based power sharing system has to be a Sunni Muslim.
The candidate who gets the most support is asked to form the new Cabinet but Lebanon's divided political class has often been bogged down over who holds senior political posts.
Adib, who has been Lebanon's ambassador to Germany since 2013, served as an advisor to one of Lebanon's former Prime Ministers, Najib Mikati. He took part in the committee in charge of writing Lebanon’s new electoral law in 2005 and 2006, and acted as his chief of Cabinet in 2011.
Mikati resigned in 2013 at the height of the Syrian war after a two-year stint as prime minister in a government dominated by Hezbollah group and its allies. The war next door had increased sectarian tension between Lebanon’s political rivals who supported opposite sides of the Syrian conflict.
Adib, a native of the northern city of Tripoli, holds a PhD in law and political sciences and had taught in universities in Lebanon and France.