BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Saad Hariri said on Saturday he will not form a cabinet based on President Michel Aoun’s wishes.
“I will not form a government as the team of his Excellency the President wants it, nor any other political faction. I will only form the kind of government needed to stop collapse and prevent the big crash that is threatening the Lebanese,” Hariri told a parliament session on Saturday.
The reaction came after Aoun said he believed Hariri was incapable of forming a government to pull the nation out of financial crisis.
The president’s verdict was contained in a letter read out to parliament on Friday.
The letter, seen by Reuters, followed months of political negotiations.
The existing government has been acting in a caretaker capacity since resigning after a huge explosion in a portside warehouse tore through Beirut in August. The blast further complicated the task of rescuing an economy that has been in a tailspin since late 2019.
“It has become evident that the prime minister-designate is unable to form a government capable of salvation and meaningful contact with foreign financial institutions, international funds and donor countries,” Aoun, a Maronite Christian, wrote in his letter.
Hariri, who like his assassinated father has headed several previous governments, was present during Friday’s session.
Hariri was designated in October, after a previous prime minister-designate failed to form a cabinet of technocrats.