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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

Lebanon's Saad Al-Hariri expects new cabinet soon

The Prime Minister designate said a new cabinet could be formed in under 10 days.

Lebanon's Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri has said the parties involved were close to a deal before. Reuters
Lebanon's Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri has said the parties involved were close to a deal before. Reuters

Lebanon will have a new government within seven to 10 days and the economy cannot withstand any more delay, Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday.

Since a parliamentary election in May, political wrangling has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns in a country with one of the world's highest rates of public debt.

"The economic situation is very difficult... [it] can't bear political disputes," Mr Hariri said in an interview on a prime-time television show on Thursday night. "There are solutions, which [President Michel Aoun] and I have discussed."

In the five months since the May vote, Mr Hariri has expressed optimism several times about a near breakthrough.

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Key parties in Lebanon's sectarian power-sharing system have jostled over ministries, as foreign donors urged avoiding any more delay and Lebanese politicians warned of economic crisis.

A Paris donors conference in April yielded pledges of billions, conditional on reforms that a new government will have to undertake.

Lebanon's last coalition government continued as a caretaker administration after the May vote, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah movement.