Sunday, October 25, 2020 | ePaper

Lebanon PM-designate steps down

  • Print


Al Jazeera News :
Lebanon's prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib has announced his resignation after his efforts to line up a non-partisan cabinet ran into trouble, particularly over who would run the finance ministry.
In a televised address on Saturday, Adib said he was stepping down from "the task of forming the government" following a meeting with President Michel Aoun.
Adib, a former ambassador to Berlin, was picked on August 31 to form a cabinet after the last government led by Hassan Diab resigned following the Beirut port blast on August 4 that killed some 200 people and left thousands homeless.
But the formation of a new government was hit by a logjam over the demand of two dominant Shia parties - Iran-backed Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal Movement - to name Shia ministers in the cabinet.
Shia leaders feared being sidelined as Adib, a Sunni Muslim, sought to shake up appointments to ministries, some of which have been controlled by the same faction for years, politicians said. Adib's resignation came days after President Aoun told reporters Lebanon would be going to "hell" if a new government was not formed soon.
It also deals a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron's efforts to break the political stalemate as Lebanon faces its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
Reporting from Beirut, Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr said Lebanon's "different political parties [had] promised Macron the government would be in place by mid-September".
"The Shia parties, Hezbollah and Amal, were intransigent, and insisted that they wanted the finance minister portfolio. They said that it belonged to their sect," she said.
Khodr said Adib was "trying to create a government of experts … to handle the dire economic and financial crisis in the country".
"But he faced a major stumbling block in Lebanon's sectarian-based system of government," she said.
Meanwhile, responding to Adib's resignation, leading Sunni Muslim politician Saad al-Hariri on Saturday said anyone celebrating the failure of the French initiative to get Lebanon's fractious leaders to form a new government will regret wasting the opportunity.
"We say to those who applaud the collapse of French President Emmanuel Macron's initiative today, that you will bite your fingers in regret," he said in a statement.
Parliament speaker Nabih Berri, who is the leader of the Shia Amal Movement, said his group would stick to the French initiative despite the prime minister-designate's decision to step down.
"Our position is to stick to the French initiative and its content," Berri said in a statement.
Public anger in Lebanon has escalated since the Beirut blast, which was blamed on the government's apathy and inaction, leading to protests on the streets demanding urgent political and economic reforms.
Crushed by a mounting debt crisis, the country's banks are paralysed and its currency is in freefall, leading to hyperinflation, soaring poverty and unemployment.
Talks with the International Monetary Fund on a vital bailout package stalled this year after the country defaulted on paying back its debt.
"The situation here is dire. Fifty-five percent of the population in a country of 5 million people lives below the poverty line. More than 30 percent of the people are unemployed," Khodr said.

More News For this Category

Galapagos sees record rise in penguins, flightless cormorants

Galapagos sees record rise in penguins, flightless cormorants

Al Jazeera News :The population of Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants, two species endemic to the remote islands, has seen a record increase, according to study results released on

At least 22 killed in Ghana church collapse

Al Jazeera News :At least 22 people, including a baby, were killed when an unfinished three-storey building collapsed in eastern Ghana, emergency officials said on Friday.The accident happened on

Pakistan to remain on global terror financing 'grey' list

Pakistan to remain on global terror financing 'grey' list

Al Jazeera News :Pakistan will remain on a terrorism financing watch list until it completely implements a set of preventive guidelines, a global watchdog said, urging Islamabad to improve

Asia becomes second region to exceed 10 million Coronavirus cases

Asia becomes second region to exceed 10 million Coronavirus cases

Reuters :Asia surpassed 10 million infections of the new coronavirus on Saturday, the second-heaviest regional toll in the world, according to a Reuters tally, as cases continue to mount

Malaysia's king to consult with rulers amid talk of emergency

Malaysia's king to consult with rulers amid talk of emergency

Reuters, Kuala Lumpur :Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters

Poland President Duda tests positive for virus

Poland President Duda tests positive for virus

BBC Online :Polish President Andrzej Duda has contracted Covid-19 but is feeling "fine", a presidential minister says.Mr Duda, 48, was tested on Friday and found to be positive, Blazej

Egypt starts voting in first stage of parliament elections

Egypt starts voting in first stage of parliament elections

Al Jazeera News :Egyptians are voting to elect a new parliament which critics say will just replicate a "rubber-stamp" body in place since 2015 under hardline President Abdel Fattah

Nigeria says 51 civilians, 18 security forces killed in unrest

Nigeria says 51 civilians, 18 security forces killed in unrest

Al Jazeera News :Nigeria's president announced 51 civilians were killed in unrest following days of peaceful protests over police abuses and blamed "hooliganism" for the violence while asserting security

Toxic algae blamed for mass marine death in Russia: Kamchatka

BBC Online :The mass death of sea creatures off the coast of Kamchatka in Russia's far east was most likely caused by toxic algae and not man-made factors, Russian

Chileans who voted out Pinochet in referendum turn focus to his Constitution

Chileans who voted out Pinochet in referendum turn focus to his Constitution

Reuters, Santiago :Chileans will go to the polls on Sunday to vote on whether they want to swap a constitution written during the Pinochet dictatorship in favor of a