The resignation of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri from the government on Saturday created a shock on all levels that was expressed by various Lebanese political forces, who were cautious in expressing a frank reaction to the resignation until the circumstances that prompted it become clear.
Following the announcement, the Presidential Palace issued a statement saying that President Michel Aoun had received a telephone call from Hariri, who is currently outside Lebanon, informing him of his resignation.
The statement said Aoun is awaiting the return of Hariri to Beirut to know more from him about the circumstances of his resignation.
In his first reaction, Foreign Minister and head of the Free Patriotic Movement Jebran Bassil said he was sorry at the personal and national level about Hariri’s resignation.
He called upon all “officials, ministers, members of parliament, and leaders in the movement to refrain from commenting on Hariri's resignation at the moment.”
He said that Lebanon would face the current crisis by being strong and united.
The Lebanese people have all the right to fear another war on Lebanon, “but, if a war happens, Lebanon will surely win, as we have won before,” he said.
For his part, head of the Democratic Gathering MP Walid Jumblat seemed more worried from the repercussions of Hariri’s resignation.
“Lebanon is too small and weak to bear the economic and political burden of the resignation,” he said.
Labor Minister Mohammed Kabbara said that Hariri’s decision to quit from the cabinet is “an Arab coalition announcement to hit the Iranian evil in Lebanon.”
MP Butros Harb told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that this resignation constitutes a “shock and a surprise at the same time,” adding that it was shocking in its content and motives and surprising because there were no political signs that such a major change was going to take place.
“Linking the resignation to the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri is a worrying development that raises many questions on whether the latest political deal was successful,” he remarked.
Harb stated that “Lebanon currently faces a very sensitive situation,” noting that there is no possibility to tell in which direction events will be heading in the upcoming days.
Former President Michel Suleiman predicted that Hariri’s resignation would have positive repercussions, adding that “Hezbollah” should be pulled out from Syria.
The Kataeb Party and the Lebanese Forces (LF) were more hesitant in issuing their official reaction to Hariri’s resignation.
An LF source told Asharq Al-Awsat “there is great caution in dealing with or commenting on the situation.”
Statements were limited to LF MP Antoine Zahra, who hoped Hariri’s resignation “is an uprising of dignity against all the political barriers.”