Lebanon announced the formation of a government on Thursday ending over eight months of wrangling amid heightened fears of a major economic collapse. The Western-backed Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri now faces a big challenge in delivering the reforms needed to address dire public finances and unlock billions of dollars in pledged aid and loans to boost growth.
Popular British radio host Gavin Ford was found dead at his home in Lebanon on Tuesday. Ford hosted a breakfast show for the Lebanese station Radio One. Security sources have indicated that Ford’s death appears to be murder. Sources claim Ford was strangled with his hands behind his back. Lebanese police have started an investigation.
Parliamentary results released on Monday indicate Hezbollah, the Shi’a Islamist political party and militant group, and its political allies have expanded their share of seats in Lebanon’s parliament, making them the dominant force in the Lebanese legislature. Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri whose Western-backed Future Movement lost a third of its seats is expected to be asked to form a new unity government.
Lebanon held its first parliamentary election in nine years on Sunday and fewer than half of the country’s registered voters cast their ballots. The election hosted 583 total candidates competing for 128 seats in parliament. Many who did not vote believed the election was predetermined. The results are expected to be announced on Monday while unofficial results showed Hezbollah and its political allies won just over half the seats.
After Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly traveled to Saudi Arabia and announced his resignation a day later, questions arose about whether he acted freely or was a Saudi hostage. Sunday, Hariri said in a television interview from Saudi Arabia, he left Lebanon to protect himself, is free to move and will return ‘within days.’
Following his sudden resignation announcement from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, back in Lebanon, renounced his resignation, Wednesday. Hariri said he would delay the resignation to facilitate a ‘dialogue’ to remove Lebanon from the crisis. Speculation persists about the nature of Hariri’s time in Saudi Arabia and whether he was detained by Saudi forces.