BEIRUT (AA) – Complaining of foreign influence and a fragmented public, a former Lebanese prime minister on Monday announced that he had “suspended” his work in Lebanon’s politics.
At a televised press conference, three-time Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he will not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections and will not file any nominations from his political party, the Future Movement.
“I am convinced that there is no room for any positive opportunity for Lebanon in light of Iranian influence, international confusion, national division, sectarianism, and state weariness,” Hariri said.
“I announce the suspension of my work in political life,” he said, and called on his party to sit out the legislative elections slated for May 25.
“Our decision is to suspend any direct role or responsibility in power and politics in its traditional sense,” he added.
Hariri’s decision triggered strong reactions from various Lebanese officials and public figures.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati called Hariri’s decision “a sad page for the country” and to him personally.
He added that he understands “the sad circumstances” Hariri is going through and the bitterness he feels.
Walid Jumblatt, head of the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party, also voiced sorrow over Hariri’s decision. “Today, the country became orphaned,” he wrote on Twitter.
MP Faisal al-Sayegh of the Democratic Gathering bloc said on Twitter: “Sadly, today a new series in the assassination of martyr Rafik al-Hariri was completed.”
Hariri, a leading Sunni figure, entered politics after the 2005 assassination of his father, Rafik al-Hariri.
His withdrawal comes amid crippling economic and political crises.