BEIRUT, Lebanon

Lebanese President Michel Aoun gave an option Wednesday to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri either to form a government or leave and pave the way for someone who can. 

In a televised speech, Aoun invited Hariri to the presidential palace to form a government based on an agreement with him and based on constitutional mechanisms in forming a government “without arguing or delaying.”

“If prime minister-designate Hariri finds himself unable to form a government of national salvation […] he, then, shall make way for those who are able to do so,” Aoun added.

Hariri was designated to form a government on Oct. 22 last year after Prime Minister Mustapha Adib stepped down amid political bickering that prevented a unity government from being established.

Two months later, Hariri proposed an 18-member cabinet of technocrats, but Aoun rejected it, claiming that Hariri did not consult with the Lebanese presidency over the names.

Hariri has not commented so far on Aoun’s speech.

Lebanon is experiencing a severe economic crisis and a deterioration in living conditions with the Lebanese pound losing nearly all its value against the US dollar, trading at over 14,000 to the dollar Wednesday.

Streets across the country have been blocked by protests and rallies for the past three weeks over the current situation, which is the worst for the Lebanese people since the civil war between 1975-1990.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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