Amid opposition pressure, Hariri not backing down

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Thursday that he will be a candidate for Lebanon’s premiership following the government’s collapse last week and amid crippling tension over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

“If [the March 8 coalition wants to] kick Saad Hariri out of the premiership, then fine… [but] we will take part in [next week’s] consultations for premiership nominations… and we will commit to my candidacy as prime minister,” Hariri said during a speech in downtown Beirut.

He also said that he made efforts in the past months to prevent strife in the country and “decided not to take to the streets… because we [are committed] to the constitution.”

The PM added that March 8 is adamant about not supporting his candidacy for premiership.

He said that the leaders of Lebanon hold the country’s destiny, adding that “it is not true that foreign plans drive us to the abyss.”

“One drop of blood of Lebanese citizens is more precious than [anything else].”

The PM also reiterated his commitment to “follow the path of truth and justice,” a reference to his support of the STL.

Lebanon’s government collapsed on January 12 after Hezbollah and its allies withdrew their ministers. Hezbollah has for months demanded that Lebanon reject the STL, whose prosecutor’s indictment on former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s 2005 assassination was submitted Monday.

PM Saad Hariri is currently heading a caretaker government pending the outcome of consultations that have been postponed to January 24 and 25.

-NOW Lebanon

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