The Prime Minister-designate is awaiting President Michel Aoun’s response to the cabinet’s new proposal which could end a nine-month deadlock.
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has presented a new cabinet proposal to President Michel Aoun, which could end a nine-month stalemate as the country faces an economic collapse.
Veteran Sunni politician Hariri has presented several proposals to Aoun, an ally of the Shiite Hezbollah group, in recent months, but they were unable to agree on a list.
“Now is the moment of truth,” Hariri, who has disagreed with Aoun on the appointment of ministers since his appointment in October, told reporters on Wednesday after the meeting.
Aoun said in a statement that he would study the proposal to make a decision.
The proposal concerns 24 specialized technocratic ministers, in accordance with a French initiative which envisaged a government capable of implementing reforms likely to unlock foreign aid essential to save the nation.
“For me, this government can start saving the country and stop the collapse,” Hariri said at the press conference.
Previous proposals also concerned a technocratic team. It wasn’t immediately clear how the new composition differed or what would happen if Aoun rejected it.
However, Wednesday’s proposal is seen as Hariri’s latest attempt to form a cabinet, as he was widely expected to give up his efforts after a trip to Egypt, a long-standing supporter.
Saudi Arabian TV Al Hadath earlier reported that Cairo had asked him not to withdraw, citing his own sources.
Sources in Cairo said Egypt had pledged economic and political support for a new government and that a delegation would visit Beirut soon.
If the government were rejected and Hariri resigned, the country would have to look for another Sunni willing to replace him.
In a sectarian power-sharing system, the Lebanese president must be a Maronite Christian and the prime minister a Sunni Muslim. With less than a year of the planned legislative elections, few personalities could be willing to come forward.
Lebanon has been without a government since the latter resigned following the explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4 that killed more than 200 people, injured thousands more and destroyed entire swathes of the city.
In recent months, Hariri and Aoun have exchanged accusations of obstructing government formation, with Hariri accusing the Lebanese president and his Hezbollah ally of seeking a third of government seats on the basis of sectarian and partisan lines. .
The Sunni leader said Aoun’s allies would get a veto if one-third of the seats in government came back to them.
The stalemate deepened the financial crisis, which the World Bank called one of the deepest depressions in modern history.