The man charged with forming a government in Lebanon said Thursday he would not do so after the opposition rejected his proposed Cabinet.
Saad Hariri, the head of the pro-Western “March 14 coalition,” declared Thursday he was stepping down as prime minister-designate, a role he got after his party won the largest share of the vote in elections in June. He presented a slate of proposed ministers earlier in the week, but Hezbollah and the group led by Maronite Christian former general Michel Aoun immediately rejected it. Hariri could have submitted a new proposal, but decided instead to announce he was “declining” to form a cabinet — essentially playing a high-stakes game of chicken with his political opponents. President Michel Sleiman must now consult legislators about whom to ask to try to form a government. Hariri could be chosen again. Hariri is the son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in a massive car bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005.