On Wednesday, Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri presented a 24-minister cabinet squad to Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the former of which is likely to either step down or continue with his position.
If the suggestion is accepted, it could end a political deadlock that has drived the country towards social and economic failure for the past nine months. If Aoun does not favor him, Hariri has sworn to resign.
“Now is the moment of truth,” Hariri told reporters after delivering the proposal to the presidential palace in Beirut. “This cabinet can help the country rise again and put an end to the collapse.”
Hariri, who was chosen in October, said he was expecting Aoun’s response on Thursday and “will be making his decision accordingly.”
The proposal does not give any obstruction to any political party and came after French Presidential Envoy Patrick Durel and Mahmoud Mohieldin, the executive director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), renewed pressure on Lebanese officials to form a government.
Lebanon has been without an operative government since the previous one resigned in the wake of the Beirut Port blast that claimed the lives of 215 people, injured 6,000 more, and destroyed Beirut’s waterside along with large sections of neighboring residential areas.
Hariri offered his cabinet proposal to Aoun during a 30-minute meeting at the presidential palace, and, according to a source close to Hariri, “the proposal for a cabinet includes new names.”
Hariri presented his proposal to Aoun after he made a brief visit to Cairo on Wednesday, where he met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry.