Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun Wednesday called on Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri to form a government or “leave space for others” if he is unable to do so.
“After the Prime Minister-designate, Saad Hariri, presented a government draft line-up that did not meet the minimum level of national balance, which brought the country into the tunnel of obstruction, I invite him to Baabda Palace for the immediate formation of the government in agreement with me, in accordance with the mechanism and constitutional standards adopted in the formation of governments without argument or delay,” Aoun said in a pre-recorded speech.
Lebanon is experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis predominantly caused by decades of corruption and mismanagement due to Lebanon’s sectarian system. The crisis was exacerbated by a massive explosion at the Port of Beirut in August, which left 300,000 displaced, over 2,000 injured, and at least 200 dead.
The international community has called on the Lebanese political class to set aside sectarian and political divides and facilitate the formation of an independent government capable of conducting the reforms required to unlock badly needed aid.
Aoun added that if the Hariri found himself unable to form a government that addressed the dangerous situations that the country and its people were suffering from, “then he must make room for someone else capable of doing so.”
Hariri’s office quickly hit back, calling on Aoun to discuss the names of independent candidates with Hariri. “If you cannot sign the decrees forming a salvation government, then allow for early presidential elections,” Hariri’s office said.