Al-Hariri resigns job of forming government in Lebanon

Lebanese Prime Minister-elect Saad al-Hariri, after meeting with President Michel Suleiman on Sept. 10, announced he was stepping down after more than ten weeks of trying to form a unity government with opposition groups, including Hezbollah. (Reuters/Dalati Nohra/Handout)

Lebanese Prime Minister-elect Saad al-Hariri, after meeting with President Michel Suleiman on Sept. 10, announced he was stepping down after more than ten weeks of trying to form a unity government with opposition groups, including Hezbollah. (Reuters/Dalati Nohra/Handout)

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BEIRUT — Political developments in Lebanon accelerated after Saad al-Hariri, who was charged with forming a government, presented his cabinet to President Michel Suleiman. He resigned because of resistance by opposition parties close to Syria and Iran, including Hezbollah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement.

The groups insisted on specific conditions in approving a cabinet, the most prominent of which was retaining Michel Aoun’s son-in-law, Jibran Basil, as Minister of Communications, even though he lost his seat in the June 7 parliamentary elections.

In response to the opposition, al-Hariri announced after meeting the president that he was resigning from the job of forming a government. His move means a new round of negotiations is necessary to appoint another prime minister.

Al-Hariri said, “I worked for 73 days…to present a complete national unity government… that, as all the parties knew, excluded no-one.” He criticised “impractical conditions that aim to invalidate or mock the election results.” Al-Hariri affirmed that he would “not accept the transformation of the Presidency or Prime Ministry into a mailbox through which we receive orders from political parties and blocs to name ministers.”

Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani expressed his country’s willingness to host another conference in Doha for the Lebanese parties and to mediate the formation of a national unity government.

Interim Prime Minister Fouad Siniora confirmed that he would name Representative Al-Hariri as a participant in the coming consultations, and called for external factors be ruled out in the domestic matter of government formation.

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