Lebanon teeters on the brink

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Lebanon teeters on the brink

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At the moment, Michel Suleiman is the man with the most difficult job in Lebanon. On Monday, the christian president must bring the separate parliamentary groups together to choose a new Prime Minister.

The Lebanese constitution stipulates that it must be a Sunni muslim, as was Saad al-Hariri. His government was formed after a full five months of negotiations between the different political groups.

Having added up the parliamentary numbers, some think an agreement will be even more elusive this time around.

The opposition is dominated by Hezbollah.They have not suggested a replacement for the Prime Minister, even though it was their actions which provoked his exit.

The group’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, is thought to be awaiting the outcome of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which is investigating the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, Saad’s father. He has denied any involvement.

Hezbollah is the only faction in Lebanon which is still allowed to bear arms. A legacy of the 1975-90 civil war, the pretext is protection against Israel. The force is more powerful than the Lebanese army, but observers do not foresee any violence:

“The situation has not climaxed yet. It will climax after the issuance of the indictments. I expect demonstrations but I do not expect the situation to get out of control. I don’t believe that Hezbollah and the rest of the opposition will stage a military campaign in order to take over the political system.” said Hilal Kashan, a political analyst.

The political turbulence may well clip the wings of Lebanon’s thriving economy. The finance, tourism and housing boom has made Beirut one of the most expensive cities in the world.