In Lebanon, Saad Hariri back in the unlikely role of savior

Saad Hariri, after being appointed prime minister, at the presidential palace, Baabda, Lebanon on October 22.

When Saad Hariri resigned as Prime Minister of Lebanon on October 29, 2019, after thirteen days of anti-system protests, he presented his decision as a “Response to the wishes of the many Lebanese who took to the streets”. Thursday, October 22, almost a year to the day after this forced withdrawal, the same Saad Hariri accepted, at the invitation of President Michel Aoun, to form a new government, replacing Hassan Diab, who has resigned since the port explosion. from Beirut in early August. Would the Lebanese people have changed their minds in twelve months?

The leader of the Sunnis – the community that holds the post of head of government under the Lebanese denominational system – presents itself as “The only and last chance” to save the country of the Cedar from the economic and social abyss into which it is sinking. The young fifty-something, prime minister already three times since 2009, would be converted to the urgency of the reforms demanded by French President Emmanuel Macron during his double summer trip to Lebanon. Measures without which the country’s donors will not get their checkbook out.

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Has the outcast of 2019 therefore become the providential man? No, what has changed in a year is that ” the street “ before which Saad Hariri had claimed to bow has emptied. Worn out by the beatings and tear gas of the security forces, taken by the throat by the collapse of the national currency, which destroyed their purchasing power, also demoralized by their own deficiencies, the indignant of the fall of 2019 have give up. On Saturday October 17, only two or three thousand demonstrators gathered in Martyrs Square in central Beirut to celebrate one year of the uprising.

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On Wednesday evening, supporters of the Current of the Future, Saad Hariri’s movement, even allowed themselves to set fire to the “fist of the thawra ”(Revolution), the construction erected on this esplanade, in tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people who dreamed of a new Lebanon. The symbol was certainly rebuilt in the hours that followed, but in the ranks of revolutionaries, bitterness is great. “Hariri is not loved while our demands enjoy wide popular support, but we can not help it, the regime is too strong, says Karim Safieddine, member of Mada, a student collective, which campaigns for a more egalitarian system, freed from the community shackles. It’s a moment of terrible disenchantment ”.

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