Lebanese newspaper protests politicians' failure to form government with blank edition

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - Major Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar published a blank edition on Thursday to protest against what it called a “catastrophic situation” in Lebanon, which five months after an election still has no new government.

Lebanon held a parliamentary election on May 6, its first since 2009, but its political parties have been unable to agree yet on forming a new power-sharing government as they jostle over the distribution of ministries.

“We waited two years for you to give the people the right to elect their representatives in parliament. And then months more to elect a president. We have been waiting five months for the birth of the cabinet,” an-Nahar’s chief executive Nayla Tueni said during a televised news conference.

Founded in 1933, an-Nahar is one of Lebanon’s largest daily newspapers.

Political paralysis and crises have characterized much of the past decade in Lebanon, including a two-year period from 2014-2016 in which it had no president and only a caretaker government.

The economy faces a looming crisis, with government debt among the highest in the world.

Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri said this week he hoped a government would be formed after President Michel Aoun returns from an overseas trip. Aoun is due back on Friday.

But there has been no sign of a final agreement.

Reporting By Dahlia Nehme; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky