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BEIRUT, Lebanon’s former prime minister Saad Hariri said he was a possible candidate to head a new government to stem
the country’s economic collapse after a massive port blast.
French President Emmanuel Macron last month extracted a pledge from all
political sides in the former French protectorate to back speedy government
formation as part of a roadmap out of the crisis, but efforts so far have
failed.
“I am definitely a candidate” to head the next government, Hariri said
during a live interview on the MTV television channel.
I “will not close the door on the only hope left for Lebanon to stem this
collapse,” he said.
The country is mired in its worst economic crunch in decades, and still
reeling from a massive explosion at Beirut’s port on August 4 that killed
more than 200 people, wounded thousands and ravaged large parts of the
capital.
President Michel Aoun is to hold parliamentary consultations on naming a
new premier on Thursday next week.
Hariri said he was ready to start making phone calls during the coming week “if all political teams still agree on the programme” discussed with Macron.
The former premier stepped down under street pressure last autumn after
mass protests erupted demanding the overhaul of a political class accused of being inept and corrupt.
The government that followed, headed by Hassan Diab, resigned in the wake of the huge Beirut blast.
The next premier designate, Mustapha Adib, last month bowed out just weeks after being nominated, after his efforts to hammer out a cabinet were blocked by the country’s two main Shiite political parties — Hezbollah and Amal — seeking to keep the finance ministry under their control.
Forming a government can drag on for months in multi-confessional Lebanon, where a power-sharing agreement seeks to maintain a fragile balance between all sides.
But Hariri said all political sides had agreed with Macron, who visited
Beirut twice in the wake of the blast, to set aside their differences for six
months to save the country from further deterioration.
“Every political side can invent a problem to government formation,” Hariri
said.
“But if the political parties really want to stem the collapse and rebuild
Beirut, they must follow the French initiative,” he said.

Source: NAM News Network

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