Hariri proposed in a statement Tuesday that Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim under the Lebanese power-sharing system, appoint an “independent” Shia candidate to the finance portfolio.
Lebanon’s problems were compounded by a devastating explosion on August 4 at the port of Beirut. The fires that followed in and around the region and Tuesday’s explosion in southern Lebanon shook the country again.
It was not immediately clear whether the two main Shiite groups, Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal movement, would support Hariri’s idea. The pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar criticized the proposal.
A Shia Muslim politician chosen by the head of Amal has been running the finance ministry for years. Adib’s objective was to shake up ministerial posts.
The French Foreign Ministry on Wednesday welcomed Hariri’s “courageous statement”. “This declaration represents an opening and all parties must understand its importance so that a mission government can now be established,” he said.
President Michel Aoun, a Christian ally of Hezbollah, said on Monday that Lebanon would go “to hell” if it could not form a government to tackle the crisis that has crippled the banks, brought down the Lebanese pound in free fall and deep into poverty.
Hariri, traditionally aligned with the Arab Gulf States, said his idea was to appoint “a finance minister from the Shiite party, who would be independent,” but added that this did not mean that he agreed to the position still being occupied by a Shiite member. political parties.
France said on Tuesday that Lebanon was in danger of collapsing if politicians did not form a cabinet soon after missing a mid-September deadline agreed with Paris.
“At this decisive moment in Lebanese history, Lebanese political forces are faced with a choice between the recovery and the collapse of the country. It is a heavy responsibility towards the Lebanese, ”Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters at a daily press briefing.