Hariri has announced he will not run in upcoming parliamentary elections and was withdrawing from political life due to several factors including Iran’s overbearing influence on the country’s politics.
Lebanon’s former Prime Minister Saad Hariri has announced that he is suspending his work in politics and will not run in parliamentary elections scheduled in May.
Hariri said on Monday the country does not have the chance for a positive future with Iran’s growing influence in Lebanon, internal divisions, rising sectarian sentiments and the dysfunction of the state.
"I declare that I will suspend my work in political life and I call upon my family in the Future Movement to take the same step,” Hariri said, in reference to his political group.
He held back tears as he spoke and vowed to continue to help people in need.
Hariri acknowledged he had failed to prevent Lebanon from falling into the worst economic crisis in its modern history.
He added that he did all he can to prevent civil war in Lebanon by compromising, an apparent reference to forming governments that included the powerful Hezbollah group.
Hariri’s decision came after Saudi Arabia, once his main backer and the country where the Hariri family made much of its fortune, distanced itself from the 51-year-old politician.
Hariri's political life
Hariri’s decision came despite the fact that several prominent politicians including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Druze leader Walid Joumblatt tried to convince him to change his mind.
Many in Lebanon fear that the abstention of the moderate Hariri to run could bring hardline Sunni politicians to play in bigger role in Lebanese politics.
Hariri has been the most powerful Sunni Muslim politician in Lebanon since 2005.
Hariri, a three-time prime minister and current member of parliament, inherited the political leadership from his late father, billionaire businessman Rafik Hariri.
The late Hariri was assassinated in February 2005 in a massive truck bomb in Beirut. Afterwards, the family chose Saad Hariri to lead the family despite the fact that he has an older brother.