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Lebanon’s President Calls for Freeing Cabinet Formation from Infighting

Lebanon’s President Calls for Freeing Cabinet Formation from Infighting

Sunday, 22 November, 2020 - 06:00
Lebanese President Michel Aoun delivers a televised address on the eve of the country's 77th independence day, at the presidential palace. Photo: Dalati & Nohra

Lebanese President Michel Aoun called on Saturday for “freeing” the government formation process from political infighting, saying unified criteria should be used by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

In a televised speech to mark Independence Day, Aoun said state-building requires an “effective and efficient government.”

“Regional and international developments will have implications on Lebanon. It’s not up to one person or any government to unilaterally decide the policies that should be adopted in the new status quo,” he stressed.

Aoun called for a national dialogue to discuss the regional changes and the developments taking place in the world.

He said such talks would help put differences aside to come up with a unified stance that stops Lebanon from becoming a victim to regional agreements.

He said that a forensic audit of the central bank was vital to combat corruption and that he would put it back on track following the withdrawal of the consultancy hired to do the audit.

Aoun said "interest-driven roadblocks" had derailed the audit, which is a key condition for foreign donors to help Lebanon out of its deep financial crisis.

"Our reality today is not promising," Aoun said, adding that Lebanon was a prisoner of corruption, political scheming and external dictations.

"If we want statehood, then we must fight corruption ... and this begins by imposing the forensic financial audit," he stated, adding he would not "back off" on the issue.

The caretaker finance minister announced on Friday that the restructuring consultancy Alvarez & Marsal had pulled out of the audit because the central bank had not provided all the information required to carry out the task, citing bank secrecy.

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