Decisive week for formation of government in Lebanon, says Saad Al-Hariri

A poster depicting Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri in Beirut. (Reuters)
Updated 29 January 2019
0

Decisive week for formation of government in Lebanon, says Saad Al-Hariri

  • Saad Al-Hariri: Matters are positive and will become clear within two days... This week is decisive, positively or negatively
  • Rival parties have been negotiating to form a coalition government since a national election in May

BEIRUT: This week will be decisive in efforts to form a new government in Lebanon, prime minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri said on Tuesday, adding he was “cautiously optimistic.”
Rival parties have been negotiating to form a coalition government since a national election in May, fueling concerns that a crisis is looming for the country’s heavily indebted, stagnant economy.
“Matters are positive and will become clear within two days... This week is decisive, positively or negatively,” Hariri was cited as saying in a statement from his office.
On Saturday, the leader of Lebanon’s powerful Iran-backed Hezbollah movement said “extraordinary efforts” were being made to form the government, but that two obstacles remained.
They are how to include a group of six Sunni lawmakers in the cabinet, and the distribution of government portfolios among the different political parties.
Credit ratings agency Moody’s last week downgraded Lebanon’s sovereign debt, citing the uncertain movement toward forming a government, and Lebanese bonds have suffered in recent weeks.
Lebanon is one of the world’s most indebted countries and its finance minister has said it is already in an economic crisis that has started to turn into a financial one, and hopes will not become a monetary one.


Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

Updated 28 min 22 sec ago
0

Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

  • Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”

RABAT: Thousands of demonstrators in Morocco are condemning prison sentences given to the leader of the Hirak Rif anti-poverty movement and dozens of other activists.
The demonstration brought one of the main avenues of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to a standstill on Sunday. Security forces kept watch as participants sang, “The people want the detainees released” and “Long live Rif.”
Hirak leader Nasser Zefzafi was sentenced to the maximum prison term of 20 years for threatening state security. An appeals court upheld his sentence and those of other activists this month.
Rif is the struggling region in northern Morocco where the Hirak movement was born in 2016. The movement demands development and job creation for the region.
Families, human rights organizations and left-wing parties are demanding the imprisoned activists’ immediate release.