Nov 09, 2019 16:54 UTC
  • Lebanon’s grand mufti demands formation of emergency national government

Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian has called for the formation of a new emergency government of technical experts, urging authorities to meet demonstrators’ demands, as a mass protest movement calling for an overhaul of the country's political system approaches its fourth week.

“The time has come and is opportune, after this national wake-up call, for the reform process to begin and for those in power to form an emergency national government made up of competent people, without delay to immediately proceed with carrying out the reform package prepared by (caretaker) Prime Minister (Saad) Hariri to solve the country's problems,” Derian said in his message to the nation on the eve of the birthday anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on Saturday.

He added, “The time has come to meet the people's demands and the national free will that transcends sects, political parties and regions, after the people's movement managed to unite Lebanese on the right path and gather them in one square, the nation's square.”

“The time has come for the people to take back their trust in the state and its constitutional and administrative institutions. The time has come to respect the principles and standards of democracy,” Lebanon's grand mufti pointed out.

Back on October 21, Hariri said his cabinet had approved a raft of economic reforms, including halving ministers' wages, and agreed on the next year's budget in a bid to tackle the fiscal crisis in the cash-strapped country.

Speaking at a press conference at Baabda Palace near the capital Beirut, Hariri said among the most important reforms was the approval of the 2020 state budget envisaging a deficit of 0.6 percent.

The government also agreed not to impose new taxes on citizens, with the central bank and financial institution set to participate in the deficit-reduction through an amount of 5.1 trillion Lebanese pounds ($3.4 billion), the Lebanese prime minister noted. 

Hariri submitted his resignation to President Michel Aoun on October 29.

Under the constitution, Hariri’s cabinet would stay on in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.