This weekend was marked by relative calm in political rhetoric and an increase in the tone of religious leaders on the issue of government formation, a government that has been overdue since August 10 and in the absence of tangible progress.
The Patriarch Maronite thus conditioned the forensic audit of the Banque du Liban to the establishment of a new government. He thus took the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, who launched “the battle for the forensic audit” last week. Some sources recall that the leader of the Maronite church has already defended on several occasions the governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salamé, recalling the immunity he enjoys in his post. The Patriarch would like Riad Salamé not to be excluded from the race for the presidency of the republic which will take place in a few years.
The Patriarch Maronite also attacked the head of state, accused of fabricating “standards of the national pact, constitutional interpretations and imaginary powers”, accusing them of having offered Lebanon hostage to the regional conflict.
According to him, the absence of a government prevents the arrival of international aid “to save the population from financial collapse”, while the international community conditions its aid to the quantification of the losses of the financial sector and in particular of the Banque du Liban via a forensic audit.
For his part also, the mufti of the republic, Sheikh Abdul Latif Daryan estimated that “there are malicious hands who are secretly working to hinder the efforts of Arab brothers hailed and to thwart the French initiative”, on the eve of month of Ramadan.
A country without a government as the economic crisis hits it hard
Lebanon has been without government since the resignation, on August 10, of outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
The formation of a new government is considered as one of the preconditions for the relaunch of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund in order to obtain the release of financial aid from the international community in the face of the economic crisis that Lebanon is going through.
Following Mustafa Adib’s failure to form a cabinet, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned following major protests in October 2019, was tasked with forming a new government in October 2020.
In an attempt to unblock the situation, the former prime minister promised the Amal movement to allocate the portfolio of the finance ministry to a member of the Shiite community. He also reiterated that Lebanon could do without a state of default, thus denying the gravity of the economic crisis however experienced by the population, with 55% of it now living below the poverty line while the economic recession has reached 29% according to some reports for the year 2020.
However, Saad Hariri’s proposals for an 18-member cabinet clash with the Presidency of the Republic, who points out that if the Shiite and Sunni communities choose their representatives, the Christian representatives in the new cabinet would also be chosen by the former. designated minister. General Aoun de facto considers that the current proposals of the Prime Minister contravene both the Lebanese constitution and the national pact.
The latter, for his part, accuses the head of state of wanting to obtain a blocking third party within his new cabinet.