Nasrallah says the Lebanese political system is in crisis

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The current crisis in Lebanon has its roots in the political system, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday.

He blamed the country’s growing economic difficulties on the United States for “blocking” financial aid and investment.

“This is not just a cabinet crisis. The governmental crisis in Lebanon is the result of a crisis of the system,” said the leader of the Iranian-backed Lebanese armed group.

Lebanon has not had a fully functioning government since the massive explosion in Beirut deepened the country’s economic woes and forced the resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government last August.

Eleven months later, despite the urgency, President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri remain at loggerheads over the composition and reform program of the future government.

The prime minister, a post reserved for a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system, accused the president of seeking a third of Cabinet seats to gain veto power over key resolutions.

Mr. Aoun, on the other hand, attacked Mr. Hariri for seeking to dictate the composition of the Cabinet. The office of president is reserved for a Christian.

The constitution requires the president and prime minister to give their approval for the formation of the Cabinet.

Nasrallah said he expects talks in the coming days to shape the course of the Cabinet formation talks.

“These days are supposed to be decisive with regard to the formation of the government,” he said.

The international community has long pressured the Lebanese leader to form a cabinet that enacts reforms in exchange for financial aid to help deal with the crisis, without success.

The crisis, which the World Bank has ranked among the world’s worst since the mid-19th century, has plunged more than half the country’s population into poverty and led to shortages of vital goods such as fuel and medicine. in a context of dwindling foreign exchange reserves. Foreign currency shortages have caused the Lebanese pound to lose more than 95% of its market value since the end of 2019.

Nasrallah said the crisis was partly fueled by corruption and mismanagement, but was mainly the result of a US embargo on Lebanon.

He accused Washington, which classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, of blocking financial aid and investment because Lebanese officials fear US sanctions if the government appeals to China and Russia for funding and investment.

The blockade, Nasrallah explained, was aimed at aggravating the crisis to turn the Lebanese against Hezbollah. Last month, Nasrallah said Hezbollah would take steps to ease shortages if they persisted, and that his party had finalized preparations to import Iranian fuel into Lebanon.

Updated: 05 July 2021, 17:27


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