Return of Hariri increasingly likely as crisis in Lebanon grows dire

Lebanese PM Saad Hariri resigns amid national backlash protests
Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI

President Michel Aoun will open formal consultations with Lebanon’s legislature today on the selection of a new prime minister.

Businessman Samir Khatib was expected to be named premier last Monday to succeed Saad Hariri, who resigned in October amid mass protests. A mix of popular opposition and a failure to secure enough backing from Lebanon’s Sunni Muslim establishment ultimately forced Khatib to withdraw his candidacy.

Amid the political deadlock, Hariri has again re-emerged as a candidate.

After restoring order in the streets, Lebanon’s priority is to resolve the country’s pressing financial crisis. To date, banks across the country are enforcing capital controls, dollars are scarce and the Lebanese pound has lost a third of its value on the black market.

Although protesters initially associated Hariri as a cause of Lebanon’s economic woes, the noticeable impact of the political crisis on Lebanese wallets may motivate greater tolerance for the former premier to restore order to the beleaguered country.

Moreover, the weight of the crisis and the former premier’s desire to lead a technocratic government may very well be enough to earn Hariri the political backing he needs to return to the premiership. Such political backing would likely see some compromise between Harari and Hezbollah that either eliminates the possibility of a technocratic government or advances a hybrid government.

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