One year after his resignation, former Prime Minister Hariri is once again head of government in Lebanon. After his appointment, he announced that he would tackle the country’s problems with experts.
One year after his resignation, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was reappointed head of government of the crisis-ridden country. President Michel Aoun appointed the 50-year-old Hariri to the top post, as the presidential office announced on Thursday after Aoun’s consultations with the parliamentary blocs. Hariri thus faces the difficult task of forming a new government.
Hariri had last been Prime Minister of Lebanon for three years from the end of 2016. Following public pressure and after continuing mass protests in the country, he submitted his resignation in October 2019. His successor Hassan Diab resigned in August 2020 after the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut. Diab’s designated successor, Mustafa Adib, also resigned at the end of September – according to his own statement, because of internal power struggles during the formation of the government.
After his appointment, Hariri announced that he would quickly tackle the country’s problems with a government of experts. “Time is pressing and this could be the last chance,” Hariri said. He promised to stop the country’s “economic ” and repair the damage caused by the devastating explosion in Beirut in August.
State is extremely indebted and economically devastated
The small Mediterranean country is currently groaning under its worst crisis since the end of the civil war 30 years ago. The state is extremely indebted and economically devastated. The Lebanese pound has lost around 80 percent of its value in recent months. The corona pandemic and the explosion on August 4 have exacerbated the crisis. More than 190 people were killed and around 6000 injured in the disaster, and around 300,000 others were left homeless.
The prospect of Hariri being reappointed led to demonstrations by his opponents and supporters in Beirut on Wednesday. Critics regard him as part of the old power elite, whom they accuse of mismanagement and corruption. Hariri was still in office when mass protests critical of the government began in October 2019.
Hariri is the son of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was killed in a bomb attack in 2005. He was already head of government from 2009 to 2011 and then again from 2016.
The formation of a cabinet in denominationally divided Lebanon is likely to be difficult again. The country’s 18 religious groups are all represented in parliament and usually have a say in the formation of the government. The Shiite Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran and has great influence in the country, promised a “positive atmosphere” in the negotiations.