Protesters in Lebanon will not be pleased, but lawmakers and the country’s elite agreed that former Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri is the only one who has any chance of forming a new cabinet within any reasonable time.
Hariri, whose government was overthrown by a popular uprising a year ago, was recruited to re-form a government after several attempts by other candidates dissolved under the pressure of internecine fighting.
And since the mammoth explosion at Beirut Port in August that ripped the capital to pieces just a few months ago, there’s not much left of the country to salvage, financially, politically and emotionally: there is non-stop fighting taking place at all levels of the government economically and politically.
Lebanese citizens – who have been in the streets protesting for about a year – are now facing the prospect of a winter battle with coronavirus and possibly little or no food, even as they scramble to make ends meet economically from one week to the next. They’re exhausted physically and emotionally.
In his acceptance speech on Thursday, Hariri said he would move as quickly as possible to put the new government together, “because time is running out and this is our beloved country’s last and only chance.
“I tell the Lebanese people who are facing despairing hardships, I say that I am dedicated to my promise to them to work on stopping the collapse that is threatening our economy, our security and to rebuild the destruction of the terrible port explosion in Beirut.”
If he succeeds, this will be Hariri’s fourth term as prime minister. His father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, was assassinated in office. Sa’ad Hariri is at present the most prominent Sunni Muslim politician in the nation, but that may not be enough to allow him to unite the disparate elements in the government, given the opposition that has been presented thus far by Hezbollah and Amal — the two sectors that have destroyed the coalition-building attempts of the previous two prime minister-designates.