Salem Radio Network News Thursday, July 29, 2021

World

Lebanon says consultations on new government will start next week

BEIRUT (Reuters) -Lebanon’s presidency said parliamentary consultations to choose a new prime minister will begin on July 26 in another attempt to push Lebanon’s fractious political class to form the country’s next government.

Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri abandoned his months-long effort to form a new government last week, dimming any immediate chance of a cabinet being agreed that could start rescuing the country from financial meltdown.

Hariri’s decision marks the culmination of months of conflict over cabinet posts between him and Michel Aoun, the Maronite Christian head of state who is allied with the Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah.

Hariri and Aoun blamed each other.

There is no obvious alternative for prime minister, a post that must be filled by a Sunni in Lebanon’s sectarian system.

Aoun is required to choose the candidate with the greatest support from lawmakers, among which Iran-backed Hezbollah and its political allies have a majority.

Western governments have been piling pressure on Lebanese politicians to form a government that can set about reforming the corrupt state. Western governments have threatened sanctions and said financial support will not flow before reforms begin.

(Reporting by Maha al Dahan; Editing by Andrew Heavens, William Maclean)

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