Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun yesterday announced that 17 files on corruption had been referred to investigation.
Aoun’s remarks came during his meeting with the World Bank (WB)’s regional director, Saroj Kumar Jha.
During the meeting, Jha stressed that the WB was “ready to extend all possible support to the new government that commits itself to good governance and creating opportunities for all Lebanese.”
Calling for a rapid formation of a new cabinet, Jha warned that the economic situation in Lebanon was becoming “more acute” and that it would make a recovery “extremely challenging.”
“There is an urgent need to stop the emerging economic crisis,” the WB official stressed.
In response, Aoun said that the new government would have “competent ministers of good reputation and far from suspicions of corruption.”
Protests erupted across Lebanon some three weeks ago amid a build-up of anger at rising costs of living, new tax plans and a ruling elite accused of rampant corruption.
Last week, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned following unprecedented nationwide protests, deepening a political crisis and complicating efforts to enact badly needed economic reforms in Lebanon.
On Sunday, anti-government protesters flooded streets in Beirut and north and south of the capital, rejecting Aoun’s attempt to position himself as the guarantor of the protest movement and its anti-corruption drive. The demonstrations took place hours after the pro-Aoun rally had staged.