On Thursday, the veteran Sunni politician was commissioned to form a government for the fourth time, a year after his resignation, under pressure from popular protests against the ruling elite.
Lebanon is facing the worst financial crisis since the end of the civil war, and the international community refuses to provide support to get out of it unless it implements the required reforms that have remained in the shelves for years.
Hariri promised to form a government of specialists to carry out reforms that were emphasized in a French initiative that was put forward last September during President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beirut, and its aim is to open the door to foreign aid.
The composition of the next Hariri government will consist of 20 ministers instead of 14, as Mustafa Adib was proposing
Hariri faces great challenges in obtaining approval for the ministerial formation due to the sectarian quota system in Lebanon. The government must resolve a list of problems, including a banking crisis and a devaluation of the currency.
On Sunday, the Prime Minister-designate visited Baabda Palace, where he met with President Michel Aoun, amid leaks that talk about progress in the government file.
Lebanese political circles say that indications suggest Hariri’s participation of the prominent political forces in the process of forming the government of specialists, which raises fears of a repeat of the Hassan Diab government scenario.
The circles stated that the information circulating so far is resolving the issue of the government composition, which will consist of 20 ministers instead of 14 as Mustafa Adeeb was proposing. In this, he met with opposition from the Free Patriotic Movement and the Shiite duo Hezbollah and the Amal movement, which ultimately led him to apologize for continuing to The task of government formation.
During the weekly Sunday mass, Patriarch congratulated Hariri and urged him to rebuild the devastated capital, Beirut, after the massive explosion at the port in August that killed nearly 200 people.
Al-Rahi criticized the political leaders for delaying talks on forming the government and holding them responsible for the unprecedented economic collapse that drove many Lebanese into poverty. The pastor presides over the Church of the Maronite community, of which the head of state should be in accordance with the sectarian quota system.
Patriarch told Hariri, “O President-designate, go beyond the conditions of political groups and their counter-conditions, and avoid the swamp of interests, quotas, and the appetites of politicians and sectarians.”
He added, “We tell you … beware of secret bilateral agreements and promises, as they carry with them the seeds of disagreements and disputes at the expense of the government’s success.” “Don’t put the Christians behind your back,” he went on.
Hariri did not name two prominent Christian blocs, namely the Free Patriotic Movement led by President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law, and the Lebanese Forces party led by Aoun’s rival during the civil war, Samir Geagea.
Saad Hariri promised to form a government of specialists to carry out the reforms that were emphasized in a French initiative that was put forward during President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Beirut.
The Free Patriotic Movement attributes its decision to Hariri being “a politician par excellence,” while a government consisting of specialists from A to Z must be formed. As for Hariri’s former ally Forces Party, it expressed its conservative stance by saying, “The one who tried his mind is ruined.”
Observers say that the motives of the two sides differ in refusing to name Hariri. The Free Movement has not forgotten Hariri that he accepted the popular pressure and resigned from the government, turning his back on the covenant, in front of the Forces Party. Its position is partly due to the legacy of previous differences with the Future Movement, and the most important point is that the Maronite party prefers in This stage remains on the side of the opposition, in light of the lack of conviction of the possibility that the influencers of the current scene can achieve any breakthrough in the wall of the complex Lebanese crisis.
The patron called Hariri to work with Aoun to ensure the revival of the French initiative to aid Lebanon and the success of Lebanon’s talks with Israel to demarcate the disputed maritime borders.
The Hariri government faces major tasks, the most important of which is implementing the reforms required from Lebanon, especially the electricity issue and combating smuggling on the Syrian-Lebanese borders, and also achieving a breakthrough at the level of the ongoing negotiations with Israel on border demarcation, which will be resumed next Wednesday.
The Patriarch repeated his demand for “neutrality” for Lebanon in the region’s conflicts, in a reference that is widely understood to be the Iranian-backed Shiite Hezbollah group.