Wednesday, October 21, 2020

In Lebanon, Prime Minister-designate gives up on forming a new government

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The Lebanese Prime Minister-designate announced on Saturday that he would give up forming a new government to replace the one that resigned after the gigantic deadly explosion at the port of Beirut on August 4.

“I apologize for not being able to continue the task of forming the government”, Mustapha Adib said in a televised address, after long negotiations to choose a government team approved by the various rival political forces in the country.

The Lebanese government resigned following the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut that left more than 190 dead and more than 6,500 injured on August 4, while devastating entire neighborhoods of the capital. Mr. Adib, appointed on August 31, is under pressure to form a government as quickly as possible, so as to launch the reforms demanded by the international community to unlock billions of dollars in aid.

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Differences in the allocation of ministerial portfolios

Lebanese political parties pledged in early September, during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron, to form a cabinet “Mission” composed of ministers “Competent” and “Independent” within two weeks to get the country out of the economic slump. But the process is stalling, in this country where power is shared between the different religious communities, due to differences over the allocation of ministerial portfolios.

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Mr. Adib’s efforts were notably hampered by two Shiite formations, Hezbollah, a heavyweight in Lebanese politics, and his ally Amal, led by the head of Parliament, Nabih Berri, who demand the finance portfolio.

According to observers, the stubbornness of the Shiite tandem is linked to recent US sanctions against a minister of the Amal party and two companies affiliated with Hezbollah. Lebanon has been going through one of the worst economic, social and political crises in its history for a year.

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The World with AFP

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