Lebanon: Prime Minister designate gives up forming a new government

Lebanon: Prime Minister designate gives up forming a new government

The Lebanese Prime Minister-designate announced on Saturday that he would renounce, for lack of consensus, the formation of a new government intended to save the country from one of the worst economic crises in its history almost two months after the explosion at the port of Beirut.

“I apologize for not being able to continue the task of forming the government,” Moustapha Adib said during a press briefing at the presidential palace, apologizing to the Lebanese for his “inability” to achieve their “aspirations for a reformist government ”.

The Lebanese political parties pledged at the beginning of September, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, to form a “mission” cabinet made up of “competent” and “independent” ministers within two weeks to leave the country. economic slump.

But “as the efforts to form the government were nearing their ends, it became clear to me that this consensus no longer existed, and that a (ministerial) team according to the criteria I set was already dedicated to it. 'failure', explained Mr. Adib.

The Lebanese government resigned following the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4 that left more than 190 dead and more than 6,500 injured, also devastating entire neighborhoods of the capital.

Appointed on August 31, Mr. Adib was under pressure to form a government as quickly as possible, so as to launch the reforms demanded by the international community to unlock billions of dollars in aid.

However, its efforts were hampered by a system of community sharing of power, in force since independence, and more specifically by the demands of two Shiite formations, Hezbollah, heavyweight in Lebanese politics, and its ally Amal, led by the head of Parliament Nabih Berri, who demanded the finance portfolio.

According to observers, the stubbornness of the Shiite tandem is linked to recent US sanctions against a minister of the Amal party and two companies affiliated with Hezbollah.

End of the French initiative?

For his part, President Michel Aoun “accepted” the renunciation of Mr. Adib, affirming that he “will take (it) the appropriate measures in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution” to appoint a new Prime Minister.

“The initiative launched by French President Emmanuel Macron is still ongoing and enjoys all my support,” assured Mr. Aoun with reference to the roadmap put in place by Paris for the end of the crisis.

The French initiative “must continue, because it expresses the sincere intention of the friendly French state and of President Macron personally to support Lebanon,” said Mr. Adib for his part.

France, very involved in the Lebanese dossier, urged Lebanon's partners on Wednesday to exert “strong and converging pressure” to push for the formation of a new government.

“Irresponsibility”

In political and diplomatic circles and on social networks, the reactions, often virulent, were not long in coming.

“It is unfortunate to bypass the opportunity that was offered to Lebanon,” lamented former Prime Ministers Fouad Siniora, Tamam Salam and Nagib Mikati in a joint statement.

“We say to those who applaud today the fall of the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, that you will bite your fingers,” warned for his part former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who had returned his apron in last October under pressure from the streets.

“Such a degree of irresponsibility, when the fate of Lebanon and its people is at stake! Politicians, have you really sabotaged this unique opportunity created by France? », Rebelled on Twitter the UN special coordinator for Lebanon, Jan Kubis.

Lebanon has been living for a year one of the worst economic, social and political crises in its history, marked by a collapse of its national currency, hyperinflation and large-scale impoverishment of the population.

The crisis was amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic and the August 4 explosion, which catalyzed the mobilization of the international community.

On Monday, Michel Aoun warned that Lebanon was heading towards “hell” if a new government was not formed as soon as possible.

“We are going to fasten our seat belts, the flight to hell has started,” quipped an Internet user on Twitter on Saturday, after the announcement of the renunciation of Moustapha Adib.

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