Lebanon’s Hariri says no longer candidate for PM

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Lebanon’s Saad Hariri said Wednesday he would not seek to stay on as prime minister, ahead of much-delayed consultations to give the protest-wracked country a new government.

Fifty days after unprecedented nationwide demonstrations against Lebanon’s reviled political elite forced him to step down, the caretaker premier had looked like he might attempt to keep his seat.

But he said his name was drawing too much opposition for him to be a candidate when official consultations to pick a new line-up begin on Thursday.

Lebanese anti-government protest
Lebanese anti-government protesters carry candles and national flags as they march against the incitement of sectarian strife, and for the freedom of religious expression on the 63rd day of Lebanon’s nationwide anti-government uprising at the entrance of Parliament in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 18 December 2019. EPA-EFE/NABIL MOUNZER

Lebanon’s economy has been sliding towards default in recent weeks but the main political parties have so far failed to respond to calls from the street and international partners by forming a credible cabinet capable of undertaking key reforms.

The consultations for a new cabinet have been postponed twice already and it remains to be seen whether they will indeed take place on Thursday and whether Hariri’s chances of a third mandate as prime minister are really over.

The 49-year-old was thrust onto the political stage after his father Rafik, himself an ex-premier, was assassinated in a February 2005 car bomb attack.

 

Via France 24

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