Why The New Lebanese Government Hasn’t Been Formed Yet

AFP | Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Upon his appointment, designated Prime Minister Mustafa Adib declared that he would form a new cabinet quickly.

Since caretaker PM Hassan Diab’s resignation, local and international pressure has been pushing for the formation of a new government as soon as possible in order to put Lebanon on the right path for reform and rescue.

During his last visit to Lebanon, French President Macron received a promise from Lebanon’s ruling elite that they would have a government ready in 2 weeks.

However, the deadline has since been exceeded and, there is no government in sight yet. So, what’s hindering this important process at this very delicate time for crisis-stricken Lebanon?

Although Adib was expected to present the lineup for the new cabinet on Monday, 24 hours before Macron’s deadline would expire, the PM-designate indicated after meeting President Michel Aoun that he would do so at an undeclared date.

Between the internal dialogue among the political parties and the external pressure, applied most forcefully by France and the US, several conflicts and complications have formed in place of the needed government.

The international pressure comes as a way to force the traditional parties to quickly form a new government that is able to efficiently implement the necessary reforms needed to unlock international support.

This coincides with the rising call for a non-sectarian government of independent specialists; an unusual scenario in Lebanon’s confessional political system. This follows President Aoun’s endorsement of Lebanon becoming a secular state.

As they struggle to adapt to this new requirement of “rotation” in the distribution of ministries, the major powers in Lebanon are facing the obstacle of waiving their political interests that they had been used to securing in the previous cabinets.

The "Shiite Duo," Hezbollah and Amal Movement
Hadramout

On that note, one significant obstacle facing the formation of the new government today is the insistence of the so-called “Shiite duo,” Hezbollah and Amal Movement, to be in charge of the Finance Ministry.

This attachment to the ministry and opposition to the rotation principle has been a major debate in Lebanese politics since the consultations to create a new government began, and it continues to stand in the way of a productive discussion.

With that said, French President Macron reportedly extended the expired deadline to Thursday, September 17th.

This should allow more time for the consultations to reach a palpable result to fill the political void as Lebanon continues to accelerate toward more chaos.

Otherwise, one likely scenario would involve PM-designate Adib’s resignation and the restart of parliamentary consultations to appoint a new prime minister.