Citing “key differences” with the country’s president, Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Saad Hariri is stepping down.
Beirut, Lebanon – The Prime Minister-designate in Lebanon, Saad Hariri, resigned on Thursday after failing to form a government for the past eight months.
Hariri resigned after a brief meeting with President Michel Aoun at Baabda Palace.
“I retired from government formation,” he told reporters. “And may God save this country.”
The political stalemate has persisted since Hariri’s new appointment last October, despite diplomatic pressure from France, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Lebanese officials.
Hariri on Wednesday proposed a 24-minister government, which according to local media gave Aoun eight ministers, including defense and foreign ministers.
Hariri has been at odds with Aoun over the size and distribution of a new government. Aoun has accused Hariri’s proposal of lacking Christian representation and dismissing the country’s sectarian-based power-sharing system, while Hariri has accused Aoun of wanting to participate too much in government.
After resigning in October 2019 after anti-government protests across the country, Hariri was appointed a year later, promising to convene a government that would adopt economic reforms.
Since the end of 2019, Lebanon has struggled with an economic crisis that has pushed more than half of its population into poverty and devalued its local currency by about 90 percent.
The international community has urged Lebanese officials to resolve political differences and create a government that would enact economic reforms to unblock billions of dollars in aid and make the economy viable again.