Lebanon’s president says consultations on new government start next week

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BEIRUT – Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday parliamentary consultations to choose a new prime minister who will form the country’s next government will begin on Oct. 15.

Lebanon’s government resigned on Aug. 10 in the wake of a devastating blast that killed nearly 200 people and wrecked swathes of the capital, Beirut.

Mustapha Adib, the country’s former ambassador to Berlin, was picked on Aug. 31 to form a cabinet after French President Emmanuel Macron intervened, securing a consensus on naming him in a country where power is shared out between Muslim and Christian sects.

He quit in late September, however, after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan cabinet. His resignation dealt a blow to a French plan aimed at rallying sectarian political leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war.

Under the French roadmap, the new government would take steps to tackle corruption and implement reforms needed to trigger billions of dollars of international aid to fix an economy that has been crushed by a mountain of debt.

But Adib’s efforts stumbled in a dispute over appointments, particularly the post of finance minister, who will have a key role in drawing up economic rescue plans.

Macron admonished Lebanon’s leaders following Adib’s resignation, saying the failed efforts amounted to a collective “betrayal”, but vowed to push ahead with his efforts.

The country’s leaders bristled at Macron’s accusations, but there has been little movement since.

Reuters

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