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Lebanon’s Rahi Urges Politicians to Form Government Swiftly

Lebanon’s Rahi Urges Politicians to Form Government Swiftly

Sunday, 26 June, 2022 - 17:00
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun (C) meeting with parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati (R) at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of the capital Beirut, on June 23, 2022. (Dalati & Nohra)

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged fractious politicians on Sunday to speed up the formation of a government to allow authorities to prepare for presidential elections due before the end of October.


Najib Mikati was nominated premier for a fourth time on Thursday after securing the support of 54 of parliament's 128 lawmakers in consultations convened by President Michel Aoun.


But with splits running deep among Lebanon's ruling elite, it is widely believed Mikati will struggle to form a government, spelling political paralysis that could hamper reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unlock aid.


"Again I demand speeding up formation of a national government with the country's pressing need for it and so that the focus can immediately be on preparations to elect a president who saves the country," Rahi said at a sermon on Sunday.


"We call on all parties to cooperate with the premier designate...," he added.


Analysts and politicians expect the process of forming a cabinet to be further complicated by a looming struggle over who will replace Aoun, a Hezbollah ally, when his term ends on October 31.


This could further delay reforms needed to unlock $3 billion in IMF support needed to ease the country's financial crisis.


Now in its third year, the financial meltdown has sunk the currency by more than 90%, spread poverty, paralyzed the financial system and frozen depositors out of their savings, in Lebanon's most destabilizing crisis since the 1975-90 civil war


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