Forced to resign by the street nearly a year ago on 29 October 2019 but leaving his post as President of the Lebanese Council of Ministers only on 21 January 2020, Saad Hariri (50) has just been charged, on Thursday 22 October 2020, to form the new Lebanese government. His record and failure to win the backing of the two main Christian parties, will hinder Hariri's mission and his return will be unpopular with thousands of Lebanese who filled the streets previous year demanding the removal of a political class they blame for the country's ills.
"Now is a time for solidarity and we need a rescue government".
Jan Kubis, the United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, said Hariri can not turn Lebanon around alone and will need pro-reform government legislators to work with him in concert.
The huge August explosion in Beirut's port, caused by thousands of tons of highly explosive chemicals stored in a warehouse, compounded the crises. The explosion also prompted France, a longtime ally and former colonial ruler, to push for a new political order in Lebanon, launching what came to be known as the French initiative. The global community has said it will not help Lebanon financially before reforms are implemented.
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Berri, after meeting with Hariri and Aoun, told the press that the atmosphere was "positive" between the president and prime minister-designate. The son of assassinated former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, he took over his slain father's mantle in 2005 and enjoys good relations with the West.
"I say to Lebanese people who are suffering hardship to the point of despair, I intend to keep my promise, to work on stopping the collapse that threatens our economy, society and security", he said in a brief statement on Thursday.
"I will get to forming a government quickly", Hariri said.
The march moved to the vicinity of the Parliament with signs that read "All of them mean all, Hariri the first of them". "We don't want to talk, we want to wait and see how this government will set about this hard task and restore some hope".
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Hizbollah refrained from naming Mr Hariri out of respect for its alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement, but has tacitly endorsed his return and pledged not to undermine his efforts to form a government.
Lebanon is grappling with its worst economic crisis in decades and still reeling from a devastating port blast that killed more than 200 people and ravaged large parts of Beirut in August.
Though all parties have accepted the French proposal and said the economic crisis should be a priority, they have failed to agree on an action plan and economic conditions have continued to worsen.
In the past year, Lebanon's currency has collapsed, losing almost 80% of its value while prices, unemployment and inflation soared.
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The end of subsidies raises the prospect of higher food prices and further social upheaval.