Lebanon's PM-designate Hariri Gives President New Government Line-up

France's Macron has told Lebanon that without a credible government, there will be no bailout to save it from its spiraling financial crisis

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Lebanese Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, October 22, 2020.
Lebanese Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, October 22, 2020. Credit: Hussein Malla,AP

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri presented President Michel Aoun with a line-up for a new cabinet on Wednesday after months of wrangling blocked a French plan to pull the country from financial crisis.

Without a credible government, there will be no bailout to save Lebanon from its spiralling financial crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron has warned ahead of his visit to Beirut later this month.

Former colonial ruler France, which has led foreign efforts to help the country, had sought to rally Lebanese leaders to tackle the meltdown but grew frustrated as it got bogged down in fractious sectarian politics.

Lebanese politicians have failed to agree over portfolios, let alone enact reforms, even as the country hurtles towards what UN agencies have warned will be a "social catastrophe".

Hariri, who was named premier for a fourth time in October, said the president would examine his list of 18 "non-partisan, expert" ministers and that the "atmosphere was positive". Aoun's office said the two had agreed at Wednesday's meeting to try to bridge the gap between their proposals.

It was the first move towards attempting to break the logjam after weeks of inaction, as foreign reserves used to subsidise basic goods dwindle, triggering alarm.

Lebanon's worst crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war has impoverished half the population and crashed the currency.

A senior Lebanese political source said there had been renewed pressure from abroad for the politicians to break the deadlock but it remained unclear if that would succeed.

The outgoing government quit after the massive explosion at Beirut port in August, which killed more than 200 people and devastated swathes of the capital.

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