Protesters wanted change but Lebanon’s elite picks veteran to lead crisis-hit nation #Breaking112
He faces the grueling task of forming a cabinet in a country still reeling from the aftermath of a massive explosion that ripped through the capital in August. The country is mired in a financial meltdown, political infighting and widespread anger at Beirut’s ruling elite.
If Hariri succeeds in creating the next government, he will be taking on the premiership for a fourth time. A staple of the country’s political class, Hariri is the son of the assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and is the most high-profile Sunni Muslim political leader in Lebanon.
Hariri is perhaps best-known internationally for his shock resignation of the premiership in 2017 during a trip to Saudi Arabia. His resignation was widely believed to have been coerced by Saudi Arabia, where he was reportedly detained upon arrival in Riyadh. Hariri and Saudi Arabia have repeatedly denied those claims, and weeks later, he recanted his resignation.
Macron has sought to cobble together a political resolution to Lebanon’s crises in an effort to stave off state collapse in the wake of an explosion at Beirut’s port that devastated the city and killed 203 people. He has raised over $200 million in an international conference to aid Lebanon, and has conditioned future financial support on a roadmap of reforms, known in Lebanon as “the French initiative.”
Rival political groups in Lebanon have endorsed Macron’s roadmap, but political wrangling over the shape of Lebanon’s next government has continued over the last two months unabated.
It is unclear if Hariri has already made headway in negotiations over the government formation, but the new PM-designate has repeatedly said he is favor of a technocratic rescue government, an idea that his political opponents have repeatedly rejected.