Lebanon's Saad Hariri expects new cabinet in 7-10 days

Prime Minister-designate Hariri says Lebanese economy cannot withstand any more delay in forming of government.

    Hariri told MTV he is 'willing to give everyone seats from my share for the sake of the country' [Bas Czerwinski/Reuters]
    Hariri told MTV he is 'willing to give everyone seats from my share for the sake of the country' [Bas Czerwinski/Reuters]

    Lebanon will have a new government within a week or 10 days and the economy cannot withstand any more delay, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said in a television interview on Thursday.

    "Everyone must make sacrifices... I urge the president to offer sacrifices to facilitate the formation of the government, regarding the deputy prime minister's post and other issues," Hariri told Lebanese broadcaster MTV.

    Asked whether Free Patriotic Movement chief Gebran Bassil was obstructing the formation process, Hariri said: "The president does not wait for Bassil's opinion and we might form a government within seven to 10 days.

    "I'm willing to give everyone seats from my share for the sake of the country," Hariri added.

    Since a parliamentary election in May, political wrangling has prevented Lebanon from forming a national unity government, raising concerns for the heavily-indebted economy.

    Government officials, economists and bankers have warned that Lebanon's economic situation is in rapid decline.

    In September, workers and trade unions threatened protests to push officials to agree on a new government, saying the political uncertainty was affecting investor confidence and much-needed economic reforms.

    While progress in bringing together rival parties in a government has been slow, lengthy negotiations are not unusual in Lebanon.

    'Unsustainable path'

    On Thursday, Bloomberg news agency reported that the World Bank had halved Lebanon's 2018 growth forecast to 1 percent, predicting its ratio of debt to gross domestic product would remain on an "unsustainable path".

    In its October report, the international financial institution cited a decision by the Lebanese Central Bank to halt subsidised housing loans as a main factor behind the slowdown in economic activity this year.

    Bloomberg, citing the World Bank report, reported that the fiscal deficit is projected to grow to 8.3 percent of GDP in 2018 because of the public sector wage raise the government approved last year.

    Subdued growth and high interest payments mean the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to "persist in an unsustainable path toward 155 percent by end-2018", Bloomberg reported.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.