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Lebanon's Aoun says PM Hariri incapable of forming government to save country

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - APRIL 16: (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY – MANDATORY CREDIT - " RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY / HANDOUT" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri (in picture) in Moscow, Russia on April 16. 2021. ( Russian Foreign Ministry - Anadolu Agency )
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri in Moscow, Russia on 16 April 2021. [Russian Foreign Ministry/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon's Parliament deputies have scheduled a discussion session on Friday to deliberate a letter sent by President Michel Aoun. In the letter, Aoun stated that it had "become clear" that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is: "Unable to form a government capable of saving the country from its financial crisis."

The letter, of which Reuters obtained a copy, comes after months of political negotiations to form a government and has been referred to Parliament, which in turn scheduled a discussion session to discuss its content.

On 18 May, Aoun sent a letter to Parliament, via its Chairman Nabih Berri, regarding the delay in forming the government and the negative impact of this impasse on stability, including the reasons that have hindered the completion of the government. Aoun requested a discussion session before the General Assembly as stipulated by law.

President Aoun, who is a Maronite Christian, wrote in the letter: "It has become clear that the Prime Minister-designate is unable to form a government that is capable of saving the country and holding significant communications with foreign financial institutions, international funds and contributing countries."

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The interim government has been temporarily managing state affairs since its resignation after a massive explosion in the Port of Beirut in August. The explosion has further complicated the task of saving an economy that has been in disarray since late 2019.

The House of Representatives held a session chaired by Berri on Friday at UNESCO Palace to recite President Aoun's letter on the formation of the government, the prime minister in charge of forming a new government, Hariri, and all parliamentary blocs.

After Director-General of the sessions Riad Ghannem finished reading the letter's content, Berri adjourned the session until 2 pm on Saturday to discuss the matter with President Aoun.

Hariri was charged on 22 October, 2020, to form a new government to replace the government of Hassan Diab, who submitted the resignation of his cabinet on 10 August, following the explosion of the Port of Beirut on 4 August.

The new government has not yet been established.

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