Lebanon’s prime minister-elect Saad Hariri stepped down on the grounds of “major disagreements” with the country’s president.

Beirut, Lebanon -Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri stepped down on Thursday after failing to form a government in the past eight months.

Hariri resigned after a brief meeting with President Michel Aoun at the Babda Palace.

“I withdrew from forming a government,” he told reporters. “May God save this country.”

According to reports, Hariri will discuss the failed government formation effort in a TV interview later on Thursday. His office declined to comment on Al Jazeera.

Despite diplomatic pressure from France, Saudi Arabia and the United States, the political deadlock has continued since Hariri was re-elected in October last year. The European Union threatened to impose sanctions on Lebanese officials.

Hariri proposed on Wednesday to establish a government of 24 ministers. According to local media reports, the government awarded Aoun 8 ministers, including the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Hariri has been at odds with Aoun on the size and distribution of the new government. Aoun accused Hariri’s proposal of lack of Christian representation and rejected the country’s sect-based power-sharing system, while Hariri accused Aoun of wishing to have an excessive share in the government.

Hariri resigned after anti-government protests across the country in October 2019 and was reappointed a year later, vowing to form a government to implement economic reforms.

Since the end of 2019, Lebanon has been fighting the economic crisis, which has plunged more than half of its population into poverty and its local currency has depreciated by about 90%.

The international community has urged Lebanese officials to resolve political differences and form a government to implement economic reforms to release billions of dollars in aid and revitalize the economy.


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