BEIRUT — Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister said yesterday that he will seek the post again after the militant group Hezbollah withdrew support for his government, toppling it and escalating fears the country’s political crisis could descend into street battles.
Saad Hariri’s government collapsed last week in a dispute over a United Nations tribunal investigating the assassination of his father, former prime minister Rafik Hariri. Many fear Hezbollah — widely expected to be indicted by the court — will react violently if accused.
Hariri’s defiant comments heighten an already tense faceoff with Hezbollah and its allies, who have insisted they will not accept Hariri as a candidate for prime minister again in talks due to start on Monday.
Hariri said Hezbollah’s stance torpedoed attempts by Qatar and Turkey to find a compromise to defuse the crisis.
“Their demand that I do not return as prime minister stopped the move toward a solution,’’ said Hariri, 40, speaking in front of a poster of his father, who was killed in a massive truck bombing along Beirut’s waterfront in 2005. “Their aim is to sideline me from the political process and assassinate me politically.’’
Hariri insisted he would continue diplomatic efforts.