LEBANON: Aoun and Hariri exchange accusations over failure to form new government

BEIRUT — The formation of a new Lebanese government still seems a near impossibility due to the deadlock between Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri. The pair recently exchanged accusations of obstructing the government formation.

The Media Office of the Lebanese Presidency accused Hariri of refusing to take into account President Aoun’s remarks about the partnership in forming the government.

“The statement issued by Hariri’s media office contained false responses and information,” read a statement by Aoun’s media office, referring to a statement released by Hariri where he stated that the presidential palace departments want to direct the government clash towards sectarian paths.

Hariri directed a veiled criticism of President Aoun by asking him why the Lebanese Army did not intervene to protect government buildings and facilities during protests in Tripoli.

Aoun responded to those accusations by calling Minister of Defense Zeina Aker to conduct an urgent investigation into what happened in Tripoli and to strictly pursue the perpetrators who had infiltrated the ranks of the peaceful demonstrators and carried out acts of sabotage.

Over the past week, demonstrations in Tripoli took place against the deteriorating economic situation in the country and the extension of the coronavirus lockdown. At least 226 people were injured, and one person was killed in the demonstrations.