Hezbollah ‘blocking formation of Lebanon government’

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri speaks during a news conference in Beirut on Nov. 13. (Reuters)
Updated 14 November 2018

Hezbollah ‘blocking formation of Lebanon government’

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri accused Hezbollah on Tuesday of blocking the formation of a government after nearly six months of wrangling.

“It’s very regrettable that Hezbollah has put itself in the position of bearing responsibility for hindering the government,” Hariri said.

“I’ve done my job and the government is ready” otherwise, he said.

Hezbollah has pushed for Sunni politicians allied to the militia but opposed to Hariri to be represented in the Cabinet. Hariri has refused to give up a portfolio that would otherwise go to his own party.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Saturday no government would be formed if his Sunni allies were not represented. “The lawmakers have demanded their right to be represented,” he said.

Hezbollah is the only political party not to have disarmed after Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, and has backed the Assad regime in the civil war in Syria.

On May 24, after parliamentary elections, President Michel Aoun nominated Hariri for his third term as prime minister and asked him to form a Cabinet. But disputes have dragged out the process, starting with a now resolved argument over Christian representation.

Meanwhile the US State Department on Tuesday declared Nasrallah’s son Jawad Nasrallah a “global terrorist.” It said he was a “rising leader” of the group who had recruited people “to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel.”

The US also maintained its 21-year “foreign terrorist organization” designation of Hezbollah. 


Iran reports lowest turnout for general election since 1979

Updated 7 min 45 sec ago

Iran reports lowest turnout for general election since 1979

  • Conservatives look set for a landslide win in the 290-seat parliament
  • Authorities barred roughly half the candidates from contesting, experts say

TEHRAN: Iran’s interior minister said on Sunday that 42.6 percent of eligible voters turned out for the country’s parliamentary election, a record low in such polls since the Islamic revolution.
Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said the participation rate was “acceptable” for Iran after it experienced bad weather, an air disaster, a coronavirus outbreak and other incidents in the lead-up to Friday’s election.
It was the lowest turnout in a general election since the 1979 revolution that toppled the shah.


This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

Experts had predicted a low turnout after poll authorities barred roughly half the 16,000-odd candidates — mostly reformists and moderates — from contesting for a seat.
Conservatives look set for a landslide win in the 290-seat parliament.
If the conservatives’ resurgence is confirmed, it will mean President Hassan Rouhani’s slender majority of reformists and moderates elected four years ago is nearly purged.
The moderates have been weakened by the US pullout from a landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and the imposition of fresh sanctions.