French President Emmanuel Macron called on Lebanon to "get rid" of politicians who plugged sweeping reforms vital to bailing out its stricken economy.
In an interview with three media outlets including Lebanon's Annahar newspaper, Macron said: "The problem with Lebanon is that we must solve people's problems and get rid of those who cannot do it."
The French leader referred to the Arab country's entrenched political class, affirming that "Lebanon must change its leadership."
In November, Senior Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil stated that he would run for the presidency if he could not find a proper candidate to push through crucial reforms.
"I am the head of the biggest parliamentarian bloc and it is my total right to be the candidate and promote myself but I see that the existence of Lebanon is much more important than this and it's now the existence of Lebanon that is at stake," Bassil told Reuters in an interview.
He added: "I took the decision not to present myself in order to avoid the vacancy and facilitate the process of ensuring a good profile with a high possibility of success. I did not do this to have the vacancy and a bad person to fill the void.”
"I will not accept to have a bad president and in that case of course I would run,” the politician stressed.
Bassil is the head of the free patriotic movement (FPM), founded by former president Michel Aoun, his father-in-law. He was sanctioned by the US in 2020 for alleged corruption and material supporting Hezbollah but he denies the accusations.