BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Monday that a new government should be formed immediately but agreeing one might take a miracle after positions had hardened between rival factions.
Aoun said he had proposed compromise solutions that had not been accepted and depicted the problem as a standoff between the parties.
In the televised address, excerpts of which were published on the presidency’s Twitter feed, Aoun proposed annulling sectarian quotas in the main cabinet ministries to end the impasse.
"We are today facing a government formation crisis which should not have happened because the events that await Lebanon do not allow a minute to be wasted,” Aoun said in his speech.
Asked by a reporter after his speech where Lebanon was headed if there was no agreement on the issue, Aoun, a Maronite Christian, said "of course, to hell”. Asked by reporters if his comments meant there was no hope of agreeing a government, Aoun said: "No, there might be a miracle”.
His comments underlined the severe difficulties facing efforts to lift Lebanon out of economic and financial crisis by getting its fractious politicians to form a new government and carry out reforms.
The crisis, exacerbated by the devastating Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, marks the worst threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 1975-90 civil war.
Earlier on Monday, the country’s prime-minister-designate called for cooperation from all sides in the formation of a new government and for efforts to secure the immediate success of an initiative to lift the country from crisis.
All sides should cooperate to form a government of specialists "capable of halting the collapse and starting work to get the country out of the crises”, Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib said in a statement.
Last week, reports suggested Adib may resign as his efforts floundered. He had proposed switching control of ministries, some of which have been held by the same factions for years.