Lebanon’s Hariri Confirms End of Political Settlement with FPM
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said that Lebanon will witness the formation of new political alliances after the fall of a settlement that brought President Michel Aoun to power in 2016.
Hariri, who heads al-Mustaqbal movement, resigned as PM in October following the outbreak of unprecedented protests against the ruling elite. A deal to bring him back to the premiership collapsed after differences with the Free Patriotic Movement that is founded by Aoun.
Since the establishment of Prime Minister Hassad Diab’s government last month, Hariri has been launched scathing attacks on the FPM, which has also launched a counter-criticism campaign.
During a meeting of al-Mustaqbal’s Central Council at the Center House in Beirut, Hariri urged his party’s members to gear up for the upcoming stage.
“What was valid before October 17 is no longer possible after this date,” the ex-PM said in reference to the protests and his resignation.
Al-Mustaqbal views the demonstrations as “an added value to democratic life” and a step forward in changing the paralyzed political system, he said.
The country is now heading towards a new form of political alliances, revealed Hariri.
The breakdown of the 2016 settlement between al-Mustaqbal and the FPM began “months ago,” he told the conferees.
“The cracks in the presidential-prime ministerial relations accumulated until the uprising came and led to [my] resignation and turning over the page of three years of security and national achievements,” Hariri continued, according to a statement from his office.
Wednesday’s meeting also addressed Lebanon’s deteriorating economic situation.
Hariri spoke of the need to “escape the blocked tunnel,” which he said will likely be impossible without the help of the international community and the Arab world.
In a chat with reporters following the meeting, Hariri reiterated that half of the public debt, specially in the past 15 years, resulted from the electricity sector.
“If we want to solve the economic problem in the country, the first thing we must do is to be clear in describing the problem and finding solutions. But if there is a party that wants to blame another party for everything that has happened, then this is not true,” he said in reference to the FPM, which has been holding the energy portfolio in the past years.