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 FPM founder Michel Aoun (L) sits next to Lebanon's former prime minister Saad al-Hariri after he said he will back Aoun to become president in Beirut, Lebanon October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

President Michel Aoun  has accepted PM Saad al-Hariri’s resignation as prime minister and requested him  to continue in a caretaker capacity until the formation of a new government, the Directorate-General of the Presidency said on Wednesday.

Hariri  submitted his resignation on Tuesday, declaring he had hit a “dead end” in trying to resolve the country’s crisis amid an unprecedented wave of protests against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

The three-time prime minister has led a national unity government, which included some of his political adversaries, for less than two years. In recent months, the country saw rapid economic deterioration, ballooning debt and rising prices.

On October 17, the government proposed imposing a tax on Whatsapp calls, along with other austerity measures, sparking nationwide protests that paralyzed the country.

Lebanon has been under lock-down since the protests began. Banks and schools have been closed for 13 days, while protesters blocked major routes throughout the tiny eastern Mediterranean nation.

“I can’t hide this from you. I have reached a dead-end,” Hariri said in his resignation speech.
“To all my political peers, our responsibility today is how to protect Lebanon and to uplift the economy,” he added. “Today, there is a serious opportunity and we should not waste it.”

“It is time for us to have a big shock to face the crisis,” he said. “To all partners in political life, our responsibility today is how we protect Lebanon and revive its economy.”

 

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