The prime minister-designate awaits President Michel Aoun’s response to a new cabinet proposal that may end the nine-month stalemate.
Lebanon’s prime minister-elect Saad Hariri submitted a new cabinet proposal to President Michel Aoun, a move that could end the country’s nine-month stalemate facing economic collapse.
In the past few months, veteran Sunni politician Hariri made several suggestions to Aoun, an ally of Shiite Hezbollah, but they failed to agree on the list.
“Now is a critical moment,” Hariri, who has been arguing with Aoun over the appointment of ministers since his appointment in October, told reporters after Wednesday’s meeting.
Aoun said in a statement that he will study the proposal to make a decision.
The proposal is aimed at 24 expert technocratic ministers and is in line with a French initiative that envisages a government capable of implementing reforms to release much-needed foreign aid to save the country.
“For me, this government can start to save the country and prevent collapse,” Hariri said at a press conference.
The previous proposal was also aimed at a team of technical experts. It is not clear how the new lineup is different, or what will happen if Aoun refuses.
However, Wednesday’s proposal is seen as Hariri’s last attempt to form a cabinet because it is widely expected that he will give up his efforts after going to Egypt, a longtime supporter.
The Saudi-owned Al Hadath TV station earlier quoted its sources as reporting that Cairo had asked him not to step down.
Cairo sources said that Egypt has pledged to provide economic and political support for the new government, and the delegation will travel to Beirut soon.
If the cabinet is rejected and Hariri withdraws, the country will have to find another Sunni willing to succeed him.
Under the sectarian power-sharing system, the Lebanese president must be a Maronite Christian, and the prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim. With less than a year before the expected parliamentary elections, few people are willing to come forward.
Since the last person resigned after the incident, Lebanon has not had a government. Explosion in Beirut port on August 4 It killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and destroyed large areas of the city.
In the past few months, Hariri and Aoun have accused each other of obstructing the formation of the government. Hariri accused the Lebanese president and his Hezbollah allies of seeking one-third of cabinet seats based on sectarian and partisan boundaries.
Sunni leaders have stated that if one-third of the cabinet seats are obtained by Aoun’s allies, Aoun’s allies will have the right to veto.
The stalemate deepened the financial crisis and was called one of the worst depressions in modern history by the World Bank.