BEIRUT – Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday the country no longer had the luxury of wasting time as a six-month government formation crisis drags on and economic pressures mount.
More than six months since parliamentary elections, Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri has hit a wall in his effort to form a national unity government as political factions jostle for positions in the new cabinet.
A new government must be in place before Lebanon embarks on major fiscal reform, which the International Monetary Fund said in June is urgently needed to put the country’s debt on a sustainable footing.
“Lebanon today is experiencing a government formation crisis … Lebanon no longer has the luxury of wasting time,” Aoun said in a televised speech on the eve of the country’s 75th independence day since the French mandate ended in 1943.
Stressing that tackling the economy is a priority, Aoun called on all officials and parties in Lebanon to set aside personal interests and work responsibly for the Lebanese people.
Lebanon is celebrating 75 years of independence with an official ceremony staged at the Defense Ministry in Yarzeh.
President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, Speaker Nabih Berri and several officials and political figures attended the ceremony marking the country’s independence.