Lebanon’s PM-designate resigns amid political impasse over govt formation

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Lebanons prime minister-designate resigned Saturday amid a political impasse over government formation, dealing a blow to French President Emmanuel Macrons efforts to break a dangerous stalemate in the crisis-hit country.

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The announcement by Mustapha Adib nearly a month after he was appointed to the job came following a meeting with President Michel Aoun, after which he told reporters he was stepping down.

The French leader has been pressing Lebanese politicians to form a Cabinet made up of independent specialists that can work on enacting urgent reforms to extract Lebanon from a devastating economic and financial crisis worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port.

But efforts by the French-supported Adib, have hit multiple snags, after the countrys main Shiite groups, Hezbollah and Amal, insisted on retaining hold of the key Finance Ministry. Their insistence emerged after the US administration slapped sanctions on two senior politicians close to Hezbollah, including the ex-finance minister.

The two groups also insisted on naming the Shiite ministers in the new Cabinet and objected to the manner in which Adib was forming the government, without consulting with them.

After a short meeting with Aoun on Saturday, Adib said he was stepping down because the kind of Cabinet that he wanted to form “was bound to fail” and he was keen on protecting national unity.

Lebanon, a former French protectorate, is mired in the countrys worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history. It defaulted on paying back its debt for the first time ever in March, and the local currency has collapsed, leading to hyperinflation and soaring poverty and unemployment.

The crisis has been worsened by the Aug. 4 explosion at Beiruts port caused by the detonation of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrates. It killed nearly 200 people, injured thousands and caused losses worth billions of dollars.

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