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Lebanon's Hariri says he does not want to be prime minister

Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks after meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, on November 7, 2019.
Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri speaks after meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, on November 7, 2019. Mohamed Azakir, Reuters

Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri said on Tuesday he did not want to be prime minister of a new government, calling his decision “decisive” and saying he was confident President Michel Aoun would convene consultations to designate someone else.

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Hariri resigned on Oct. 29 in the face of nationwide protests against Lebanon’s ruling elite. His decision toppled a coalition government including the powerful, Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, which opposed the decision.

Since then, Lebanon’s main parties have been locked in talks and unable to agree a new government despite the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war.

“I am sticking by the rule ‘not me, rather someone else’ to form a government that addresses the aspirations of the young men and women,” Hariri, Lebanon’s leading Sunni Muslim politician, said in a statement.

“I have full hope and confidence, after announcing this clear and decisive decision, that the president of the republic....will immediately call the binding parliamentary consultations” to designate a new prime minister, he said.

The prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim according to Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system. Hariri is aligned with Western and Gulf Arab states.

Hariri said: “It is clear that what is more dangerous than the major national crisis and sharp economic crisis our country is passing through - and which is preventing us from dealing with these two intertwined crises - is the state of chronic denial being expressed on several occasions over the past few weeks.”

(REUTERS)

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