Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that corruption in his country has become institutionalized and rooted in power and administration. This was in a televised speech the day before the start of parliamentary consultations to choose a new prime minister, stressing that the next government must fight corruption.
In a speech addressed to the Lebanese, Aoun questioned the extent of the commitment of those who are chosen to form the new government to address the file of corruption and launch what he described as the reform workshop, considering that it is the responsibility of parliament members to monitor and hold accountable.
The Lebanese president called on members of parliament to think about the implications of appointing a new prime minister to the process of forming the government, and on reform projects and international rescue initiatives, noting that “the current deteriorating situation cannot continue after today; accumulating and mounting burdens on the shoulders of citizens.”
In his speech today, President Aoun said, “Reform has remained just a slogan that officials and politicians repeat, and they are completely opposite. They call for it and do not bring meaningful reform work, but rather secure their authoritarian and personal interests with perfection and dedication.”
It is likely that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri will be assigned to form the new government, after a majority of MPs announced their support for his nomination, but two major Christian parties; The Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces said last week that they would not support Hariri’s candidacy to form a new government, which further complicated efforts to agree on a new prime minister.
Hariri was forced to resign in October 2019 under the pressure of the street, which rose up against the entire political class, demanding its departure due to the deteriorating living conditions and the spread of corruption. Hariri said he was ready to lead a government that implements the reforms France is proposing as a way to open the way for much-needed international aid.
The binding parliamentary consultations to choose a prime minister were scheduled to begin last Thursday, but President Aoun postponed them after receiving requests to postpone some parliamentary blocs.
Parliamentary consultations usually take place during meetings between the president of the republic and the parliamentary blocs, separately, to find out which character they nominate for the position of prime minister.
Context of the crisis
The Prime Minister-designate, Mustafa Adeeb, apologized on September 26 for not completing his mission assigned to him by Aoun, which is to form a government to succeed the current caretaker government headed by Hassan Diab, which resigned 6 days after the Beirut port explosion.
Adeeb faced obstacles to forming a government. Most notably, the adherence to the portfolio of the Ministry of Finance by the Shiite duo: the Amal Movement headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah.
In addition to the crisis of forming the government and the grinding economic crisis that the country has been going through for months, Lebanon is still suffering from the repercussions of the Beirut port explosion, which left hundreds dead and wounded, in addition to massive material damage to the infrastructure.
It is noteworthy that demonstrations took place last Saturday in the streets of Beirut on the occasion of the first anniversary of the popular protest movement that broke out to denounce corruption, mismanagement and the ruling political class.