Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri responded to President Michel Aoun’s call to form a government or “leave space for others,” saying he had already presented an integrated formation of a government made up of non-partisan specialists, capable of implementing reforms needed to stop an economic collapse.
"I have been waiting for a phone call from His Excellency the President to discuss with me the submitted formation plan," Hariri said.
Hariri said that he was surprised alongside many Lebanese citizens by Aoun’s comments on Wednesday night as the president “invited me through a televised speech to the Presidential Palace.”
Shortly before Hariri made his statement, President Aoun called on him to meet at Baabda Presidential Palace to form a government. He has asked him in a televised speech to "leave space for others" if he is incapable of forming one.
Political deadlock between the prime minister-designate and the president has halted the government formation since Hariri’s appointment on October 22, 2019. Hariri was appointed one year after his government resigned following pressure by protesters demanding political and economic reform. He was later appointed after Hassan Diab’s government resigned following the deadly August 4 Beirut port explosion.
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 by the International Monetary Fund, and international donors especially that the country is facing an unprecedented socio-economic crisis.
“I have visited the President 16 times since my assignment with the same goal that His Excellency set, I answer him in the same way that I will be honored to visit him for the 17th time immediately, if his schedule allowed it. I will discuss the formation that has been in his hands for several weeks,” Hariri added in his statement.
Hariri added that if the president finds himself unable to sign the decrees of forming a government of non-partisan specialists then he will have to tell the Lebanese about the “real reason that drives him to try to disrupt the will of the parliament that chose the president-designate.”