Lebanon marks 75th Independence Day amid political uncertainty

Lebanon marks 75th Independence Day amid political uncertainty
2 min read
22 November, 2018
Lebanon celebrated on Thursday its 75th anniversary of independence from French rule amid political uncertainty over the formation of its government six months after elections.
Michel Aoun, Saad Hariri and Nabih Berri attended the parade in downtown Beirut [AFP]
Lebanon celebrated on Thursday its 75th anniversary of independence from French rule, marking the occasion with a military parade attended by the country's top officials.

President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and House Speaker Nabih Berri headed the delegation of politicians and security officials at the parade held at Shafiq al-Wazzan Avenue in downtown Beirut.

The celebration comes amid a political deadlock with efforts to form a new government failing due to disagreements over shares in the cabinet.

Hariri, who was assigned to form a government in May, says conflict over ministerial shares have stalled the process.

Lebanon held its first parliamentary elections in nine years in May.

On 24 May, after parliamentary elections, Aoun quickly nominated Hariri for his third term as prime minister and tasked him with forming a cabinet.

Key parties have jostled over ministries since the vote, with officials and foreign donors warning that a delay would aggravate the country's economic troubles.

Lebanon is no stranger to drawn-out negotiations over forming governments, but the current delays risk squandering a precious $11 billion package of economic aid.

The last government has continued as a caretaker administration since that election, which produced a parliament tilted in favour of the Iran-backed Hizballah movement.

Lebanon is governed by a complex system which aims to maintain a precarious balance of power across religious and political communities.

Its major political players have always ruled through consensus, which leaves little to chance, and typically includes dizzying horse-trading, with negotiations often dragging out.