President Michel Aoun has warned that Lebanon will go to ‘hell’ unless a desperately-needed government is formed in the country, where positions have hardened among rival political factions, more than a month after a gigantic explosion devastated the Beirut port.
“We are today facing a government formation crisis, which should not have happened because the events that await Lebanon do not allow a minute to be wasted,” Aoun said in a televised address on Monday.
Lebanon is grappling with an economic crisis.
On August 4, further complications emerged. At least 190 people were killed and almost 6,500 others were injured when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly explosive fertilizer, went up in smoke at the Beirut port.
Up to 300,000 people were also left homeless and much of the downtown areas of the city suffered major damage.
The colossal blast, which marked the worst threat to Lebanon’s stability since the 1975-90 civil war, triggered thousands-strong rallies, violent at times, against the government of then Prime Minister Hasan Diab, who had formed his cabinet in January in a bid to combat alleged corruption and mismanagement, and to revive the collapsed economy.
Diab, whose cabinet had been formed following months of a power vacuum in Lebanon, ultimately announced his resignation on August 10 under the brunt of mounting public outrage over the Beirut explosion.
On August 31, Aoun called on the country’s Ambassador to Germany Mostafa Adib, 48, to form a new government. Despite his efforts, the prime minister-designate has not yet managed to form his cabinet primarily due to intense rivalry among parliamentary blocs.
When, after his speech, asked about where Lebanon would be headed if there was no agreement on a cabinet, Aoun replied “of course, to hell.”
In response to another question asking whether his remarks meant there was no hope of agreeing a government, he said, “No, there might be a miracle.”
“With the hardening of positions there does not appear to be any solution on the horizon, because all the proposed solutions amount to a ‘victor and a vanquished.’”
Lebanon’s prime minister-designate calls on all to help form overdue cabinet
Separately on Monday, Prime Minister-designate Mostafa Adib urged competing political parties and factions to step up and help him in forming an independent cabinet to save the country.
“Any further delay will exacerbate and deepen the crisis,” Adib further said in a statement.
“The Lebanese people’s woes… require the cooperation of all sides to facilitate forming a crisis government” of independents, he added.