Just how much can Lebanon change under Aoun?

Al Manitor| Haytham Mouzahem: Following the election of Gen. Michel Aoun as president of the Lebanese Republic on Oct. 31 and the appointment of Saad Hariri as prime minister on Nov. 3, the two men will face numerous challenges, starting with forming a national government. Hariri is seeking to form his government before Independence Day on Nov. 22, but he is currently unable to meet the demands of some parliamentary blocs that seek key portfolios or service ministries.

On Nov. 8, Aoun’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc called on politicians to facilitate the formation of a new government. Hariri’s Future Movement parliamentary bloc urged political parties to keep their demands for ministries realistic to help Hariri form a new government.

Aoun and Hariri will have to address many serious socio-economic and political problems, especially the deteriorating economic situation and rising unemployment rate. They will need to maintain security and stability, combat terrorist networks and meet the needs of more than a million Syrian refugees residing in Lebanon.

Aoun acknowledged the difficulty of this mission in his inaugural speech, describing himself as a “president who took office in difficult times and a president highly expected to overcome difficulties and secure stability.” He pointed out that political stability can only be achieved by respecting the National Pact, the constitution and the law through national partnership. He also stressed the need to fully implement the National Pact and the Taif Agreement without “any kind of selectiveness or discretion and develop it as needed through a national consensus.”

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