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Lebanon PM designate recuses himself from forming new cabinet

Lebanon’s premier-designate recused himself from forming a new cabinet Saturday as international pressure mounts for a reform-minded administration to replace the government that resigned after a deadly August port blast.

“I excuse myself from continuing the task of forming the government,” Mustapha Adib said in a televised speech, apologising to the Lebanese people for his “inability to realise its aspirations for a reformist team” to save the country.
Lebanon’s last government resigned in the aftermath of the colossal blast in Beirut port on August 4 that killed more than 190 people, wounded thousands and ravaged swathes of the capital.

Since his nomination on August 31, Adib has been under pressure to form a new cabinet as soon as possible, so it can carry out the necessary reforms to unlock billions of dollars in foreign aid.

Adib’s efforts to come up with a new line-up have been effectively blocked by the two main parties representing Lebanon’s large Shiite community — Amal and Hezbollah.

The two parties have refused to budge on their demand to keep the finance ministry under their control, a position analysts say is linked to recent US sanctions against a former minister from Amal, as well as Hezbollah-linked businesses.

Even before last month’s blast, Lebanon was already mired in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war and battling the novel coronavirus pandemic.