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Lebanon speaker says PM’s resignation unconstitutional

Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation was unconstitutional.

“The cabinet still exists and Hariri’s announcement of his resignation in this manner will not alter its nature,” Berri told lawmakers according to a statement from his media office, Xinhua reported.

Berri said that the cabinet would continue to function as normal.

The speaker underscored “the importance of maintaining national unity and fortifying the internal arena”.

“The Lebanese were able to overcome all of the various crises that came their way in the past, and their unity would allow them to overcome the current barriers as well,” Berri said.

Hariri announced his resignation on Saturday in a speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia. The announcement came as a surprise to Lebanon’s political establishment.

The speaker said that he was waiting for Hariri to return to Lebanon “and that is to affirm the resignation, or else it is invalid. And when he resigns based on the norms, parliamentary consultations will be carried out to designate a new premier.”

According to the constitution, a PM who resigns should theoretically serve as caretaker prime minister until a new PM is selected and succeeds in forming a cabinet.

“The political problem that the resignation has created will only be solved by a political cabinet,” said Berri in a clear indication that he opposes the formation of a government of technocrats.