BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the nation faced “multiple dangers” that would be hard to weather without a government, speaking after the prime minister-designate quit and dealt a blow to France’s bid to lift the country out of crisis.
Muslim religious figures also said Lebanese needed to unite following Mustapha Adib’s decision to step down on Saturday after his efforts to form a cabinet hit a roadblock over ministerial appointments in the sectarian system.
It leaves Lebanon, with its arrangement of sharing power between Muslims and Christians, rudderless as it faces its deepest crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pressed Lebanon’s fractious politicians to reach a consensus over
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the nation faced “multiple dangers” that would be hard to weather without a government, speaking a day after the prime minister-designate quit following his failed bid to form a cabinet.
Mustapha Adib stepped down on Saturday after hitting a roadblock over how to make appointments in the sectarian system, striking a blow to a French initiative that aimed to haul the nation out of its deepest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pressed Lebanon’s fractious politicians to reach a consensus so that Adib was named on Aug. 31, is to due to speak about the crisis in a news conference in Paris later on Sunday.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, leader of the Maronite church, Lebanon’s biggest Christian community, said Adib’s resignation had “disappointed citizens, especially the youth, who were betting on the start of
BEIRUT (AP) — A former Lebanese foreign minister and son-in-law of President Michel Aoun has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Sunday.
The statement from his office said Gebran Bassil, who also heads the Christian Free Patriotic Movement party, will isolate until he recovers, adding that the infection level is still “low and acceptable.”
The announcement comes amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in Lebanon, with record numbers registered almost every day for the past week.
The Health Ministry confirmed Saturday 1,280 new coronavirus cases, bringing the overall number of infections in Lebanon to 33,162. The government has recorded 317 deaths from COVID-19 since the first case was reported in late February.
It was not clear when Bassil, 50, last saw his father-in-law, the president.
Health Minister Hamad Hassan has recommended a total lockdown for two weeks to stem the rise in daily detected infections, but authorities
The parliamentary factions will have to agree on a new candidate to take over negotiations.
Lebanon is reeling from an ongoing economic collapse that was made worse by a disastrous port explosion in August. The blast, caused by improperly stored ammonium nitrate, killed nearly 200 people and brought about the collapse of the previous government.
But efforts by the relatively unknown Adib to broker an agreement over the distribution of the ministerial portfolio stalled amid factional fighting. Among the sticking points, the country’s leading Shiite Muslim groups, Amal and the armed militant group Hezbollah insisted on controlling the Finance Ministry.
Adib, who had tried to persuade political leaders to rally around a slate of independent experts to tackle the country’s economic crisis, said he was unable to broker the impasse.
“I present my honest apologies to the Lebanese people, who have suffered and are suffering,” Adib said.
Adib, a Sunni
Lebanon’s prime minister-designate resigned Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, nearly a month after he was appointed to the job.
The announcement by Moustapha Adib deals a blow to French President Emmanuel Macron’s efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit country.
The French leader has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a cabinet made up of independent specialists that can work on enacting urgent reforms to extract Lebanon from a devastating economic and financial crisis worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion at the Beirut port.
But efforts by the French-supported Adib have hit multiple snags, after the country’s main Shia groups, Hezbollah and Amal, insisted on retaining hold of the key finance ministry. Their insistence emerged after the U.S. administration slapped sanctions on two senior politicians close to Hezbollah, including the ex-finance minister.
The two groups also insisted on naming the Shia ministers in the new