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Lebanon begins consultations for new prime minister

By News Desk, Agency Report

The Lebanese President, Micheal Aoun, has disclosed that parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister after Hasan Diab’s resignation from office has been fixed for October 15 in line with government commitment to form a new cabinet.

He explained that the consultations would mark the third attempt to name a new premier in less than a year after series of resignations in the wake of deepening economic crisis and recent port explosion that ravaged entire districts of the capital.

It would be recalled that the August 4 explosion at Beirut port that killed more than 190 people and wounded at least 6,500 persons led to the resignation of former prime minister, Diab. His designated successor Mustapha Adib stepped down last month after he failed to forge a consensus around a new government line-up.

Since the Beirut port blast, western governments have stepped up pressure on Lebanese leaders to put in place a government ready to implement sweeping reforms and unlock much-needed aid.

On a visit to Beirut at the beginning of last month, French President, Emmanuel Macron said that he had secured promises from Lebanon’s factions to install a reform-minded administration within a fortnight.

When Diab finally abandoned his efforts to get faction leaders to deliver, Macron accused them of looking to their selfish interests rather than those of the country.

The date set by Aoun for the start of parliamentary consultations comes just two days before Lebanon marks the first anniversary of a nationwide protest movement demanding sweeping political reform.

Its rallies lost momentum earlier this year as the coronavirus pandemic hit, but public anger has soared since the port blast, which was caused by the ignition of a huge stockpile of ammonium nitrate fertiliser that had been left uninspected for years.

A confessional power-sharing system, which has been in place ever since the end of Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, has created an entrenched, often hereditary, political elite that the protest movement holds responsible for the country’s woes.

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