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Lebanon’s President Blames Cabinet Formation Delay on Political ‘Contradictions’

Lebanon’s President Blames Cabinet Formation Delay on Political ‘Contradictions’

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 20:00
In this photo provided by Lebanon's official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese President Michel Aoun speaks during an address to the nation at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has blamed “contradictions that control politics” for his failure to call for binding parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister.

Lebanon is mired in a deep political crisis amid nationwide protests that prompted Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign on Oct. 29.

Aoun has yet to call for the consultations with the parliamentary blocs to name a new premier.

“The government should have been formed by now ... but the contradictions that control Lebanese politics have compelled caution to avoid a more dangerous situation,” the president said in a speech marking the country's Independence Day.

The next Lebanese government must be "efficient, productive and methodical," he said.

"It's time for action ... because we are in a race against time as we face tremendous and dangerous challenges," he added.

Aoun called on troops to protect the people’s freedom of expression and at the same time ensure freedom of transportation.

Activists have been closing roads around the country since the anti-government protests erupted on Oct. 17. But the Lebanese army has continued to reopen them.

Aoun praised the protest movement and the media for shedding light on corruption as “healthy and useful."

But he warned against false accusations, instead calling on protesters to allow the judiciary to “do its job.”

He reiterated his call on protesters to send representatives to the presidential palace to hear their demands.

Aoun tweeted earlier Thursday that President Donald Trump said in a cable that the United States is ready to work with a new Lebanese government that responds to the needs of its people.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged Lebanon's leaders to form a new government capable of enacting reforms and fighting corruption after Hariri's resignation.

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