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Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri announces resignation

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Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri announces resignation
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Beirut: Amid ongoing political crisis in Lebanon, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced his resignation on Thursday after failing to form a non-partisan cabinet, leading to protests across the country.

After meeting President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace here, Hariri said:"I have just met with the President who informed me about his rejection to some of the names mentioned in my last cabinet line-up. The President told me that we will not be able to cooperate together in forming a new government."

Though Hariri confessed that he had offered to give the President more time to reconsider, he added that "It is clear we will not be able to agree."

"That is why I excused myself from forming the government. May God help the country" he said.

In a statement, President Aoun said: "What is the use of one additional day if the door to discussions was closed" add added that he would soon set a date for consultations on a replacement.

Meanwhile, Lebanon has been going through its worst economic and financial crisis, exacerbated by the absence of an efficient government capable of implementing structural reforms to unlock billions of US dollars in international aid.

The country has been running without a cabinet since August 10, 2020, when caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned following the Beirut port's explosions which killed more than 200 and wounded thousands of others.

Hariri, who was appointed as the new Prime Minister on October 22, 2020, failed to form a new cabinet because of his differences with Aoun over distribution of ministerial portfolios.

While countries like US, France, Russia and other international actors have been pressing Lebanon to form a cabinet to save the country from collapse, Political experts warn about complete chaos after Hariri's resignation.

Shortly after Hariri's announcement, protesters in Beirut clashed with Lebanese soldiers in riot gear who fired rubber-coated steel bullets.

Major highways south of the capital were also targeted by demonstrators.

In response to Hariri's decision, the Lebanese pound on Thursday nosedived to a record low of about 21,150 pounds to the US dollar on the black market.

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