News ID: 273678
Published: 0321 GMT September 02, 2020

Lebanon PM-designate pledges 'government of experts'

Lebanon PM-designate pledges 'government of experts'

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib on Wednesday pledged to form a “government of experts” to spearhead reforms demanded by the international community.

"We hope that we will quickly succeed in forming a government made up of a coherent team that is focused on dealing with the many dossiers before us," Adib said in a televised statement, AFP reported.

"We will proceed from the principle that the government should be a government of experts."

Adib started talks on forming a crisis government Wednesday.

The consultations came after a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday during which he said political leaders had agreed a road map for reform after last month's devastating blast in the port of Beirut.

The last government resigned in the face of public anger over the August 4 explosion that killed at least 188, wounded thousands and laid waste to entire districts of the capital.

Government formation is usually a drawn-out process in multi-confessional Lebanon where a complex political system seeks to share power between different religious groups.

But the country's deadliest peacetime disaster has created intense pressure for swift reforms to lift the country out of its worst economic crisis in decades.

Adib started meeting parliamentary bloc leaders, as Pope Francis warned Lebanon faced "extreme danger that threatens the very existence of the country".

"Lebanon cannot be abandoned to its solitude," the pope said.

Lebanese lawmakers rushed to approve the nomination of the little-known 48-year-old diplomat on Monday.

Lebanon's worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war has seen poverty rates double to more than half the population, sent prices soaring and trapped people's savings in the banks.

International donors already pledged more than 250 million euros (around $300 million) in emergency aid, during a video conference jointly organized by France and the United Nations.

Macron said on Tuesday that Adib could only "obtain legitimacy by quickly forming a mission government made up of professionals, the strongest possible team."

A protest movement, which has taken to the streets since last October demanding the ouster of the political elite, has already rejected Adib's nomination on principle.

They allege he is too close to a political class whose alleged corruption and incompetence they blame for the explosion of a large shipment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer that had been left to languish in Beirut port for years.

Hundreds protested on Tuesday evening demanding a secular state to replace the sectarian system, with clashes erupting in the evening between some demonstrators and security forces.




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