BEIRUT (AP): Lebanese politicians have missed a 15-day deadline to form a crisis Cabinet, with many remaining deadlocked on which political faction gets to have the key portfolio of the finance ministry.
The deadline was set as part of a French initiative by President Emmanuel Macron who has been pressing the leaders in Lebanon to form a Cabinet made up of specialists who can work on enacting urgent reforms to extract the country from a devastating economic and financial crisis.
The crisis has been worsened by the August 4 explosion at Beirut’s port caused by the detonation of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrates, which killed nearly 200 people, injured thousands and caused losses worth billions of dollars.
The French leader has described his initiative, which includes a road map and a timetable for reforms, as “the last chance for this system.”
While initially committing to the plan and naming a new prime minister-designate who promised to deliver a Cabinet within two weeks, Lebanese politicians have been unable to meet the deadline amid divisions over the initiative itself and the manner in which the government formation is being carried out, away from the usual consultations and horse-trading among political factions.
France said on Wednesday it regretted the fact that Lebanese politicians had failed to form a government two weeks after French President Macron set a Sept. 15 deadline, but that it was still not too late, a presidency official said on Wednesday.