Aoun:Lebanon can’t waste more time on government formation

aounBEIRUT – 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.

Lebanese Army troops on horseback hold Lebanese flags during a military parade to mark the 69th anniversary of Lebanon's independence from France, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday Nov. 22, 2012. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Lebanese Army troops on horseback hold Lebanese flags during a military parade to mark the 69th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence from France, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday Nov. 22, 2012. Lebanon gained independence from France in 1943. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

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.

Reuters