‘May God help the country’: Lebanon’s Hariri steps down after months of deadlock

Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has stepped down approximately nine months after he was tasked with forming the crisis-ridden country’s next government.

On Thursday, Hariri reported to journalists that President Michel Aoun had not accepted his latest cabinet line-up less than 24 hours after the three-time prime minister submitted the proposal.

“It is clear that we will not be able to agree with the president,” Hariri announced after a 20-minute meeting with President Michel Aoun. “I have excused myself from building the government. May God help the country.”

International calls have urged Lebanese leaders to form a new government. In an unexpected move, the French and US ambassadors to Beirut recently travelled to Saudi Arabia to address Lebanon with Saudi officials. The two announced Lebanon is in “desperate need” of a new, pro-reform government to lead it out of its economic and financial crisis.

But for months, the effort has been obstructed by a power struggle between Hariri on one side and Aoun and his son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, who heads the largest bloc in parliament, on the other.

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