Lebanon is going ‘to hell’ if government is not formed: President Aoun

Lebanese President Michel Aoun. (File photo: Reuters)

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Monday that the country is going “to hell” if a government is not formed.

Aoun also said that Lebanon faced a crisis over forming a government and proposed annulling sectarian quotas in the main Cabinet ministries that routinely cause squabbles during the Cabinet formation process and can make the process take months.

Cabinet formation, which was expected by September 15, has stalled, and Hezbollah has insisted that the Finance Ministry go to a Shia political party, either Hezbollah or Amal.

“As the positions have grown harder, there appears no solution on the horizon soon,” Aoun said in a televised address, excerpts of which were published on the presidency Twitter feed.

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When asked if there was any hope for a breakthrough in Cabinet formation, Aoun said "there might be a miracle."

Earlier on Monday, Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib urged competing political forces to step up and help him form the Cabinet that is needed to set the crisis-struck country on a path to recovery.

Read more: Expecting the collapse: Meet Lebanon’s young political party ready to take power

The country is currently in the grips of an unprecedented economic crisis and the government must pass long overdue and much needed reforms to attract foreign aid promised by France and other donors. US officials have also stressed that aid will not be delivered unless serious reforms are undertaken, but pledged over $17 million in disaster aid after August's explosion. The coronavirus and the deadly explosion at the Beirut port have dealt further blows to the already crippled economy.

The last government, headed by Hassan Diab, resigned in the wake of the Beirut port explosion on August 4 that left at least 190 dead and destroyed entire sections of the capital city.

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French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Lebanon shortly after the blast to put forth its roadmap for reform that included forming a Cabinet of independent ministers within two weeks. Diab previously said he was still committed to forming such a cabinet.

-With Reuters

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Last Update: Monday, 21 September 2020 KSA 15:20 - GMT 12:20
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