Time.news – The Lebanon crisis has no end: political chaos is added to a dramatic economic situation. Nine months after accepting the post to form a government, Saad Hariri threw in the towel, unable to form an executive. At loggerheads with President Michel Aoun, he failed to figure out the complicated puzzle of (confessional) balances that distinguishes the political landscape of the Land of the Cedars.
International donors are adamant on the need to have a functioning government as a ‘conditio sine qua non’ to open credit lines, vital for a country now on its knees. Lebanon is rocked by one of the worst economic crises since the 1850s, the World Bank warned.
The Lebanese pound has lost over 90% of its value against the dollar in the black market and has experienced a new collapse after Hariri’s announcement. Last week the lack of fuel forced the country’s two main power plants to stop, aggravating an already precarious situation that sees frequent blackouts that can last up to 22 hours a day. There is also a shortage of medicines and the price of bread has seen a new rise.
Faced with Hariri’s step backwards, the ball goes back to Parliament which must indicate a new prime minister, called to put together a government team to be submitted to the approval of the president and political parties.
A swamp in which he got entangled the Sunni Hariri – son of the late Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who died in a Hezbollah attack on Valentine’s Day in 2005 – for months engaged in a tug-of-war with Aoun, accused of obstructing the process by claiming a de facto veto power over the executive. The accusation was rejected by the Maronite Christian, an ally of Hezbollah.
Announcing the step backwards, Hariri pointed the finger at the head of state and his request for “corrections” to the government team proposed by him, defined as “substantial”. “It is clear that we will not be able to agree”, he added. Aoun’s comment was dry, according to which Hariri “was not ready to discuss any corrections”, “the door to discussions was closed”.
The assignment had been conferred in October
The Sunni leader was charged last October 22, in an attempt to curb the unstoppable crisis in which Lebanon was sinking, hit by the economic collapse, to which was added the Covid epidemic and then the double explosion that on August 4, 2020 it had devastated the port and part of the city and caused over 200 deaths.
He first Hassan Diab he had been overwhelmed by the harsh protests; Mustapha Adib, the man chosen by the Lebanese president to try to form a technical government in line with the requests made by the French leader Emmanuel Macron, had also failed in the post and within a month, in September, he had had to throw the sponge.
After intense consultations and cross vetoes, Hariri had managed to garner the necessary consensus among the parliamentary blocs to obtain the mandate. But the abacus with numbers was not enough to get to grips with the intricate Lebanese balance.