Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad Hariri
Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad al-Hariri
Photo: Reuters
Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad al-Hariri

Lebanon's president asks PM-designate to form government or go

Ailing nation's leaders have been at loggerheads over formation of a government for almost five months, needed to implement urgently-needed reforms and unlock international aid

Reuters |
Published: 03.17.21 , 22:52
Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri on Wednesday to form a new cabinet immediately or else make way for someone who can.
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  • Aoun and Hariri have been at loggerheads over government formation for almost five months, leaving the country rudderless as it sinks deeper into financial collapse.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad Hariri
    Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad Hariri
    Lebanese President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Saad al-Hariri
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic crisis that is posing the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war.
    "If prime minister-designate Hariri finds himself unable to form a government..., he should make way for those who are," Aoun said in a televised speech after inviting him to the Baabda palace for immediate talks on the matter.
    In a statement issued after the invitation, Hariri said he would visit the president for the 17th time to discuss government but if this failed to yield results, Aoun should "cut short the suffering and pain of the people through paving the way for early presidential elections."
    A new government could implement urgently-needed reforms and unlock international aid.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Mounir Hujairi, 23, holds up a Lebanese national flag as walks in front of burning tires set on fire to block a main road, during a protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon
    Mounir Hujairi, 23, holds up a Lebanese national flag as walks in front of burning tires set on fire to block a main road, during a protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon
    Demonstrators blocking a main road, during a protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon
    (Photo: AP)
    The government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned on the back of the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion that destroyed swathes of the capital and left 200 dead.
    Diab's cabinet has stayed on in a caretaker capacity until a successor is formed but fractious politicians have been unable to agree a government since Hariri's nomination in October.
    "My call is determined and truthful to the prime minister-designate to choose immediately one of the two choices, as silence is not an option after today," Aoun said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A man stands next to graffiti at the damaged port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
    A man stands next to graffiti at the damaged port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
    A man stands next to graffiti at the damaged port area in the aftermath of a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Erupting in 2019, the financial crisis has wiped out jobs, locked people out of their bank deposits, slashed almost 90% of the value of the Lebanese currency and raised the risk of widespread hunger.
    The pace of unraveling has escalated in the past two weeks with the Lebanese pound losing a third of its value, shops closing down and protesters blocking roadways.

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