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Lebanese prime minister-designate resigns over failure to form new government

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FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, file photo, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib speaks to journalists at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut.
FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, file photo, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib speaks to journalists at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, east of Beirut.   -   Copyright  Bilal Hussein/AP Photo
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Lebanon's prime minister-designate Mustapha Adib said he would step down after failing to form a new government as the country continues to recover from a deadly explosion in the capital, Beirut.

"I apologise for not being able to continue the task of forming the government," Adib said during a press briefing at the presidential palace.

He apologised for his "inability" to achieve Lebanese "aspirations for a reformist government."

Adib, the country's former ambassador to Germany, was designated prime minister a month ago after the government resigned over the August 4th explosion in Beirut that killed 190 people and injured thousands.

Many have blamed the explosion on government mismanagement that allowed 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate to be stored in a warehouse at the port.

Violent protests broke out following the explosion with demonstrators storming government buildings as they protested government corruption and the negligence they blame for the explosion.

Adib was under international pressure to form a government to access aid money that donors said should only go to Lebanon if reforms are implemented.

The explosion came as Lebanon is embroiled in an economic crisis, with its currency losing nearly 80% of its value prior to the explosion. A UN report stated that more than half of the population was living below the poverty line.

Lebanese political parties said at the beginning of September as French President Emmanuel Macron visited the country that they would form a mission cabinet within two weeks.

But Adib said on Saturday that "as the efforts to form the government were nearing their ends, it became clear to me that this consensus no longer existed."

The failure to do so could be seen as a blow to Macron's diplomatic efforts to pressure them to reform.

Efforts to form a government are hampered by the country's confessionalist system under which different religious groups share power in the government.