October 22, 2018 / 11:31 AM / 25 days ago

Lebanon's Hariri says he is still working to form government

BEIRUT, Oct 22 (Reuters) - Efforts to form a new Lebanese government after months of negotiation remain “on their way to a solution”, prime minister designate Saad al-Hariri said on Monday.

Last week President Michel Aoun said a government would be formed “very soon” and a government source said it would be agreed during the weekend, but press reports on Monday cited senior politicians saying problems persisted.

Parties have been jostling since May’s parliament election over ministerial positions in a new national unity government, but the political uncertainty has contributed to fears that Lebanon faces a looming economic crisis.

“Contacts continue to form a government and the issue is not impossible, as some are trying to suggest,” Hariri said in televised comments to reporters.

Lebanon has one of the world’s most indebted governments, owing about 150 percent of gross domestic product, and the International Monetary Fund warned early this year that Beirut must urgently undertake fiscal reforms.

President Aoun said in a Twitter post on Monday that circumstances required a rapid formation of the government.

Reporting By Angus McDowall, Editing by William Maclean

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