The BIC acknowledges the confirmation of former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri as the incoming Prime Minister of Lebanon. Hariri, who formerly headed three government cabinets in Lebanon, resigned almost one year ago as a result of popular pressure from the countrywide protests against corruption, economic mismanagement, and the entrenched sectarian elite. The popular protests, which brought hundreds of thousands of Lebanese to the streets, have engulfed Lebanon over the past year and resulted in a nominally technocratic government headed by Hassan Diab, who resigned on 10 August, in the face of outrage from the explosion at the Beirut port. Subsequently, there have been multiple failed attempts to form a government. While early parliamentary elections – currently not scheduled until 2022 – are needed in order to obtain a truly legitimate mandate, the priority should now be urgent reforms that prevent Lebanon from sinking into further crisis.
Elisa Cherry, BIC Middle East Analyst said: “The confirmation of the former Prime Minister is unsurprising, unfortunately. The political elite in Lebanon are entrenched into every aspect of the political system, and they operate to protect one another, and their positions. The Lebanese people have battled against countless obstacles in the past year, and continue to show their discontent for the ruling class. Hariri’s confirmation will be another testament to the willpower of the Lebanese people and their discontent towards the rhetoric and actions of the political elite, but will likely just be a vicious cycle of the corrupt political system that is in place in Lebanon. While Hariri hopes to form a government of “non-partisan specialists”, his actions in the coming weeks will speak volumes to his willingness or unwillingness to bring positive change to Lebanon. The BIC remains deeply invested in the upcoming political developments in Lebanon, and the need for political reform.”