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Lebanon’s Government Criticized by Its Own Supporters

Lebanon’s Government Criticized by Its Own Supporters

Tuesday, 30 June, 2020 - 08:00
Prime Minister Hassan Diab meets with Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and Lebanese Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon Janaury 21, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir
Beirut- Caroline Akoum

The circle of criticism against the Lebanese government has widened to include, in addition to the opposition, its most prominent supporters and parties that have secured a representation within the ministerial lineup.

Speaker Nabih Berri, the head of the Marada Movement, former Minister Sleiman Franjieh and the president of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) MP Gebran Bassil, have all joined a choir criticizing the government’s performance and its failure to implement reforms.

With the economic crisis reaching an unprecedented level and information about the failure of Beirut’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government seemed to be a heavy burden on those who brought it, with some of them recognizing that it was “unable to deal with crises.”

The latest attack came from MP Faisal Karami, who stressed that the government had no choice but to find a solution, “especially since the economic situation was beginning to open large security holes in Lebanon.”

For his part, MP Jamil Sayyed, who was considered as the government’s godfather, said in a television interview: “[Prime Minister Hassan] Diab’s government is no longer able to address crises.”

Presidential sources, however, refused to comment on the recent wave of criticism, telling Asharq al-Awsat that there is “no serious proposal about a government change except for what is said in the media.”

FPM MP Mario Aoun questioned the intention behind the attacks against Diab’s cabinet “by those who are supposed to be its allies.” He did not rule out “attempts to expedite its downfall and overthrow the current rule.”

“The government cannot be judged after four months of its formation in light of the country’s difficult and accumulated problems. It must be given more time to reach results,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat.

He continued: “We do not exclude that some people are planning with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri to accelerate the fall of the government and the rule, but they won’t succeed.”

In contrast, Mustaqbal (Future Movement) MP Mohammed Al-Hajjar stressed that Hariri was not seeking to return to the premiership “under an era headed by two presidents,” in reference to President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law, MP Gebran Bassil.

“One cannot call for the resignation of the government without preparing for an alternative,” Hajjar said, adding: “As long as Hezbollah and the FPM are protecting it, the government will stay and Lebanon will pay the price."

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