IslamNews – Lebanon’s prime minister-designate Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun failed Monday to agree on a new government line-up after months of deadlock, as the country sinks deeper into economic crisis.
Despite public outrage and international pressure to form a government so as to enact reforms needed to unlock aid pledges, wrangling over cabinet posts persists seven months after the outgoing government resigned in the wake of a devastating explosion in Beirut, widely blamed on official negligence.
The failure on Monday to agree a cabinet line-up crushed hopes for a breakthrough, with public barbs exchanged between the two leaders raising fears of a total impasse. No new meeting has been announced.
“I asked the president to listen to the woes of the people and to give this country its final chance of having a technocratic government capable of reform,” Hariri said from the presidential palace after his proposal was rejected.
Hariri said Aoun and the party he founded were pushing for a third of all cabinet seats, which would give them veto power over government decisions.
Aoun “sent me last night a line-up that grants his team a third of cabinet seats”, he said. “This is not acceptable.”
The presidency quickly denied in a statement any desire for a “blocking minority” and expressed “surprise” at Hariri’s “words” and tone.
Hariri, a three-time premier who was selected in October to form a new government, made public an alternative line-up he said he had submitted to the president more than three months ago.