Patriarch Al-Rai, Lebanon’s top Christian cleric, urges politicians to form a government.
Lebanon’s Christian cleric on Sunday urged grumpy politicians to speed up the formation of a government to allow authorities to prepare for presidential elections due before the end of October.
Lebanon’s Najib Mikati was named prime minister for the fourth time on Thursday after winning the support of 54 of parliament’s 128 lawmakers, including Iran-backed Hezbollah, in consultations called by President Michel Aoun.
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But with deep divisions within Lebanon’s ruling elite, it is widely believed that Mikati will struggle to form a government, causing political paralysis that could hamper reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unlock the crisis. assistance.
“I call again to expedite the formation of a national government with the pressing need of the country and so that the focus can be immediately put on the preparations for the election of a president who saves the country,” said Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai during a sermon on Sunday.
“We call on all parties to cooperate with the Prime Minister designate…”, he added.
Analysts and politicians expect the process of forming a cabinet to be further complicated by a looming fight over who will replace Aoun, the Hezbollah-aligned head of state, when his term ends on 31 october.
This could further delay the reforms needed to unlock $3 billion in IMF aid needed to ease the country’s financial crisis.
Now in its third year, the financial crisis has caused the currency to plummet by more than 90%, spread poverty, crippled the financial system and frozen depositors of their savings, in Lebanon’s most destabilizing crisis since the 1975 civil war. -1990.
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