BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said on Sunday that although he had been subjected to “slander and lies,” he was “very patient” and determined to form a new government.
In a televised speech marking 16 years since the assassination of his father, Rafik Hariri, he said that he would never accept giving “the blocking third in the government to the president of republic.”
Hariri said that during his meeting with Michel Aoun on Friday “the president of the republic asked for a quota of six minsters and for granting the Armenian Tashnag party a minister out of this quota.”
“Things are not going well, for the economy is in crisis, a dear part of our beloved Beirut was destroyed by the explosion of the port, the new coronavirus pandemic is devastating our families, and the series of assassinations is continuing with the last victim being martyr Lokman Slim,” Hariri said.
“A specialists’ government of nonparties members is the only one capable of implementing the necessary reforms, whose road map was set by the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, otherwise no one will help us and the deterioration will continue until the big explosion.”
He continued: “Fighting corruption starts with a reform that guarantees the independence of the judiciary, which stops pressures on some judges to open or close certain cases according to political affiliations.”
Hariri considered that “the one who is blocking the forming of the government is the one who is obstructing the launching of reforms, delaying preventing the collapse, and launching reconstruction.”
On the anniversary of his father’s death, Hariri stressed that the ruling issued by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon against Slim Ayyash, convicted in absentia of killing Rafik Hariri in a 2005 bombing, should be executed and that he should be handed over no matter how long it took.
Ayyash is still at large and Hezbollah refuses to hand him over as it does not recognize the tribunal.
Hariri rejected criticism of his late father, saying: “Hariri’s policy had brought back Lebanon to the scene, attracted investors and tourists, and set the first cellular network in the Middle East even before Israel did, and it was a policy of moderation.”
The prime minister-designate also objected to allegations that he infringed on the president’s prerogatives in forming the government or on the Christians’ rights but that he “did not allow the president of the republic to choose the ministers he wanted, especially Christian ministers.”