Hariri: Lebanon will have a new government within 10 days

Lebanon Prime Minister-designate warns the economy cannot withstand any further delay in the formation of a new government.

Elad Benari ,

Saad Hariri
Saad Hariri

Lebanon will have a new government within seven to ten days, Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said on Thursday, warning that the economy cannot withstand any further delay, Reuters reported.

Since a parliamentary election in May, political wrangling has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns in a country with one of the world's highest rates of public debt.

The Hezbollah terrorist group, which is backed by Iran, and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member parliament in the May 6 parliamentary elections.

The faction led by Hariri lost over a third of its seats in the elections, but he was nevertheless asked by President Michel Aoun to form a new cabinet.

"The economic situation is very difficult...(it) can't bear political disputes," Hariri said in an interview on a prime-time television show on Thursday night. "There are solutions, which (Aoun) and I have discussed."

In the five months since the May vote, Hariri has expressed optimism several times about a near breakthrough. Lebanon's last coalition government continued as a caretaker administration after the May vote.

Hariri is backed by Saudi Arabia, which is Iran’s regional rival. He announced he was stepping down last November in a televised address from Saudi Arabia in which he lambasted Tehran and Hezbollah for destabilizing his country and the Middle East.

He later said he would consider coming back as premier if Hezbollah stopped intervening in regional conflicts, including the wars in Syria and Yemen.

In June, Hariri urged Iran not to interfere in his country’s affairs after top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani praised Iran-backed groups for making gains in last month's parliamentary elections.