Lebanon’s Hariri says government formation may take more time

Lebanese Prime Minister designate Saad Al-Hariri said it may take more time to form a government despite elections having taking place on May 6. (Reuters)
Updated 14 August 2018

Lebanon’s Hariri says government formation may take more time

  • Lebanese politicians have repeatedly warned that the country urgently needs to put a government in place, but they have jostled over cabinet positions
  • Lebanon’s tangled sectarian politics, has Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druze competing among themselves for ministries

BEIRUT: It may take Lebanese parties more time to form a coalition government, prime minister designate Saad Al-Hariri said on Tuesday more than three months after the general election.
“Perhaps we need more time to arrive at a final formula,” he said to reporters before a meeting of members of parliament from his party in Beirut.
Lebanese politicians have repeatedly warned that the country — which has one of the world’s highest rates of public debt — urgently needs to put a government in place, but they have jostled over cabinet positions.
“There is no doubt that some sides still stick to their terms, but, as we see, all of them retreat and concede a little,” he said, adding that the new government needed to include all sides.
The May 6 elections delivered a majority for the Shiite Hezbollah and its parliamentary allies, a reversal of the previous vote in 2009, when groups with Western and Saudi support won most seats.
The result has further complicated Lebanon’s tangled sectarian politics, as Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and Druze compete among themselves for ministries.
The delay in forming the government has prompted recriminations between rival parties.
Last week, Hezbollah members of parliament warned that the delay risked Lebanon “sliding toward tensions.”
“We are a state that has problems, and we must form a national unity government in which there is cooperation between all the parties. Otherwise we will create a problem in the cabinet,” Hariri said.
The International Monetary Fund has warned that Lebanon needs “an immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment” to make its public debt — which measures about 150 percent of gross domestic product — sustainable.


UAE confirms 624 new coronavirus cases

Updated 46 min ago

UAE confirms 624 new coronavirus cases

  • There was one death overnight
  • A total of 765 people were cleared of COVID-19 infections

DUBAI: The UAE has recorded 624 new coronavirus cases overnight after conducting additional 44,000 tests, raising the country’s caseload to 37,642, health ministry officials said.

There was also one death overnight, putting the UAE death toll to 274, state news agency WAM reported.

Another 765 people meanwhile were cleared of COVID-19 infections, bringing patient recoveries to 20,337.

The health ministry reiterated its advisory for people to follow social distancing and other preventive measures to avoid coronavirus transmission.