Lebanon: Hariri Blames Aoun's Party Over Delay in Forming Cabinet

Sunday, 17 November, 2019 - 14:00
Asharq Al-Awsat

Lebanon’s outgoing prime minister is harshly criticizing the party of the country’s president after weeks of delay in forming a new Cabinet.

A statement released Sunday by Saad Hariri’s office called the policies of Michel Aoun’s party “irresponsible,” the Associated Press reported.

Almost three weeks after Hariri resigned amid massive anti-government protests, Aoun has yet to call for consultations with parliamentary blocs’ leaders to name a new premier.

Nationwide demonstrations began on Oct. 17 against new taxes amid a plunging economy.

They’re now calling for the downfall of the political elite who have run the country since the 1975-90 civil war.

Some major factions in Lebanon’s sectarian political system want to keep Hariri in the new government.

They want him to form a cabinet of politicians and technocrats. for his part, Hariri is insisting on only technocrats.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Lebanon slipped deeper into political crisis on Sunday after the withdrawal of a top candidate for prime minister fruther narrowed the chances of creating a government needed to enact urgent reforms.

Mohammad Safadi, a former finance minister, withdrew his candidacy late on Saturday, saying it was too difficult to form a "harmonious" government with broad political support.

Safadi was the first candidate who had appeared to win some consensus among Lebanon's fractious sectarian-based parties since Hariri quit as prime minister on Oct. 29.

However, protesters denounced the choice of Safadi, a prominent businessman and longtime politician they said was part of the elite they sought to oust.

"We are in a deadlock now. I don't know when it will move again. It is not easy," said a senior political source.

"The financial situation doesn't tolerate any delay."

According to Reuters, another political source described efforts to form a new government as "back to square one."

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