Almost nine months after being appointed, Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Saad Hariri announced Thursday (July 15th) that he was stepping down from forming a government as the country faces the worst socio-economic crisis in his history. Mr. Hariri had been appointed prime minister in October 2020 but failed to form a team supposed to launch essential reforms to unlock crucial international aid in particular.
The leader of the Sunnis – the community which holds the post of head of government under the Lebanese denominational system – introduced itself as “The only and last chance” to save the country of the Cedar from the economic and social abyss into which it is sinking.
He told the press on Thursday that he had met President Michel Aoun who had called for amendments to the government list, changes to which he was opposed. “It is clear that the position [de Michel Aoun] has not changed on the subject and that we will not be able to agree ”, he said. “I offered him more time to think it over and he said, ‘We won’t be able to agree.’ This is why I apologized for not being able to form the government, may God help the country ”, he added.
MM. Aoun and Hariri have repeatedly displayed their disagreements in recent months, especially during a public pass of arms in March after yet another meeting which had turned to bitter accusations. Mr. Hariri criticized the president for obstructing the formation of the government by insisting on “Blocking minority” within the next ministerial team and seeking to impose a distribution “Denominational and partisan” wallets.
Mr. Hariri, he reiterated his attachment to a government of technocrats, demanded internationally. The presidency had denied any suggestion of “Blocking minority” and expressed his “Astonishment”, as to ” about “ by M. Hariri.
First anniversary of the explosion of the Port of Beirut
Three times prime minister, Saad Hariri was appointed prime minister on October 22, 2020, a year after his fall under pressure from the streets. The current government, in charge of current affairs, resigned after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut (more than two hundred dead, thousands injured) on August 4, 2020, a coup de grace for a population already on its knees.
Almost a year later, the parties remain absorbed in their usual bargaining in a multi-faith country put in cuts regulated by the barons of the various communities.
The gigantic blast was triggered by a fire in a warehouse at the port that housed tons of stored ammonium nitrate “Without precautionary measures” by the authorities’ own admission. In addition to the more than two hundred dead, the explosion left more than 6,500 injured and destroyed entire neighborhoods of the Lebanese capital. A local investigation has still not yielded anything, no official having been held to account. Security forces on Tuesday fired tear gas at angry demonstrators protesting outside the residence in Beirut of a minister accused of blocking the investigation into the explosion.
Before Mr. Hariri, Mustapha Adib, a diplomat little known to the general public appointed at the end of August to form a government, had also failed in the face of party resistance to his cabinet proposal.