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Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

Hariri named new Lebanon PM, promises reform cabinet

AFP
Beirut
Three-time Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was renamed to the post on Thursday to create a reform-orientated cabinet that can lift the country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.
Hariri, 50, made his comeback to take on the difficult task almost a year after stepping down under pressure from an unprecedented protest movement demanding a complete overhaul of Lebanon’s political system.
The country is under huge international pressure to form a crisis cabinet of independents to address a plummeting economy made worse by the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating blast at the Beirut port on August 4.
Immediately after President Michel Aoun named him, the returning premier vowed to form a cabinet of experts, in line with conditions set by French President Emmanuel Macron to help rescue the debt-ridden country from crisis.
Hariri said he would “form a cabinet of non politically aligned experts with the mission of economic, financial and administrative reforms contained in the French initiative roadmap”.
“I will work on forming a government quickly because time is running out,” he said, calling it the country’s “only and last chance”.
He was set to start consulting the country’s various parliamentary blocs from Friday, the parliament said in a statement.
Cabinet formation is often a drawn-out process in Lebanon, where a complex governing system seeks to maintain a precarious balance between its various political and religious communities.
Hariri himself took eight months to hammer out his last cabinet after 2018 parliamentary elections.
His nomination on Thursday was backed by a majority of 65 lawmakers, while 53 abstained from naming anyone during consultations with the president.
The parliamentary bloc of the powerful Shiite Muslim movement Hezbollah did not give the president a name of a preferred candidate, but its main ally the Amal Movement supported Hariri’s nomination.
The UN envoy to Lebanon Jan Kubis said the onus was once again on political parties to back change.
“It is the traditional political forces that have again put on themselves to choose the way forward, regardless (of) their numerous failures in the past and deep skepticism about the future,” he wrote on Twitter.

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