Lebanon’s Hariri expects new government in 7-10 days – TV interview

Lebanon will have a new government within seven-ten days and the economy cannot withstand any more delay, Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday.

Since a parliamentary election in May, political wrangling has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns in a country with one of the world’s highest rates of public debt.

“The economic situation is very difficult…(it) can’t bear political disputes,” Hariri said in an interview on a prime-time television show on Thursday night. “There are solutions, which (President Michel Aoun) and I have discussed.”

In the five months since the May vote, Hariri has expressed optimism several times about a near breakthrough.

Key parties in Lebanon‘s sectarian power-sharing system have jostled over ministries, as foreign donors urged avoiding any more delay and Lebanese politicians warned of economic crisis.

A Paris donors conference in April yielded pledges of billions, conditional on reform that a new government will have to undertake.

Lebanon‘s last coalition government continued as a caretaker administration after the May vote, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Shi’ite Hezbollah movement.

BEIRUT (Reuters)

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