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Lebanese government to be formed very soon: President

18 October 2018 18:57

 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun announced on Thursday that a new government will be formed very soon, ending over five months of deadlock after the parliamentary elections.

“The government will be [formed] very soon or sooner,” Aoun told reporters Thursday, echoing earlier remarks by Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri who recently raised hopes about the formation of the Lebanese government.

“I know that the formation of the government has taken too long, but we will be able to form it, God willing. We are very close to that,” Hariri said during a speech at the Grand Serail in Beirut.

Hariri has been negotiating with Lebanon’s rival parties since the parliamentary elections in May to form a new power-sharing cabinet, but they have so far been unable to reach a consensus.

In recent days stepped-up talks between leaders have increased optimism that the deadlock may soon be broken.

A government source told Reuters on Thursday that the government is expected to be formed during the weekend.

However, the parliamentary bloc of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement is not that optimistic. Last Friday, an unnamed source close to the movement cast doubt on the prediction that a new unity government will be formed in Lebanon soon.

“In light of the internal difficulties and obstacles hampering the formation, it is unlikely for the government to be formed within the ten-day time limit set by Hariri,” the source told Lebanon’s Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Joumhouria.

Lebanon’s first parliamentary vote in nine years was held on May 6, with over 500 candidates vying for seats. Turnout was 49.2 percent, according to officials.

The deadlock, as well as the poor economic conditions, have led to a political crisis in the Arab country, infuriating the people and the media.

The oldest Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar released a blank edition last Thursday to protest the ongoing political stalemate.

“We waited two years for you to give the people the right to elect their representatives in parliament. And then months more to elect a president. We have been waiting five months for the birth of the cabinet,” an-Nahar’s chief executive Nayla Tueni told a televised news conference last week.

The political parties’ failure to form a new power-sharing government has put an $11-billion aid package at risk. If formed, the new government would be able to sign off on billions of dollars in aid pledged at a conference in April, notably to help boost the country’s ailing infrastructure.

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