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Lebanon crisis

Lebanon’s Berri calls for new govt by end of week, claims country is being ‘hijacked’

Berri also called for parliamentary elections to be held on time and accused the civil society of being backed by “unknown sides,” in an apparent reference to foreign funding.

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Lebanon’s parliament speaker said Tuesday that the country needed a government by the end of the week, something which Lebanese politicians have been unable to do for over a year.

The speaker, Nabih Berri, also claimed that there was an ongoing attempt to “hijack” Lebanon.

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Berri and his Shiite allies, the Iran-backed Hezbollah, blame the United States and Gulf countries for Lebanon’s unprecedented financial and economic crisis. No evidence has been provided to back up this claim.

Lebanon has been without a fully functioning government since Hassan Diab stepped down as prime minister following the Aug. 4, 2020 explosion at the Port of Beirut.

Since then, two separate politicians were designated to form a new government but stepped down due to reported demands from Hezbollah and its Christian allies, the Free Patriotic Movement.

Two-time former premier Najib Mikati was then tapped as PM-designate over a month ago. He has also been unable to form a new government so far.

On Tuesday, Berri said a new cabinet must be formed this week, “not longer.”

Any new government would be short-lived as parliamentary elections are scheduled for next spring.

Berri also called for the elections to be held on time and accused the civil society of being backed by “unknown sides” in an apparent reference to foreign funding.

Lebanon’s political elite has repeatedly accused members of independent political groups or civil society of receiving funding and backing from foreign states. They have provided no proof of these allegations.