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Lebanese Presidency handout via Getty

Lebanese President Michel Aoun rejected Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's proposal for a new government, prompting Hariri's resignation and deepening the country's political crisis.

Why it matters: Lebanon's political stalemate is contributing to the country's economic collapse, and caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has been pleading for international help to avert an imminent “social explosion." But key international players say they'll withhold aid without a new government and economic and political reforms.

Driving the news: Hours before Aoun rejected Hariri's proposal, Secretary of State Tony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had sent a joint message to the Lebanese president stressing the need to form a new government as soon as possible.

  • The message was conveyed by the U.S. and French ambassadors in Beirut on Thursday, a day after Blinken and Le Drian met in Washington and agreed to push for a new, reform-minded government in Beirut.
  • Blinken and Le Drian also discussed possible sanctions against Lebanese politicians involved in corruption or in preventing the formation of a government.
  • “We will coordinate the measures of French and American pressure against those responsible for this impasse," Le Drian said.

Flashback: Diab resigned after the Beirut explosion last August but political infighting has prevented the formation of a new government.

After Aoun rejected his proposed technocratic cabinet — which came after 8 months of negotiations — Hariri said it would be "impossible" to reach a deal with the president.

  • "May God help Lebanon," he said.

The latest: The Lebanese pound plunged to a new low against the dollar after the news. It has lost more than 90% of its value over the past year.

Go deeper

Updated Sep 19, 2021 - World

Macron and Biden to talk this week following diplomatic row

Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden walk together at the G7 summit in June 2021. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden will speak with French President Emmanuel Macron “in the next few days” amid the ongoing diplomatic row surrounding a scrapped submarine order, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told French TV station BFMTV.

The latest: "President Biden very much values our alliance with France, and looks forward to speaking with President Macron and finding a way forward," a White House official told Axios.

Australian prime minister says France knew of "grave" concerns over submarine fleet

Photo: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday that France had to have known of Australia's "deep and grave concerns" over the submarines the French were building, AP reports.

Why it matters: Morrison's comments come after Australia scrapped a submarine deal with France, worth roughly $66 billion, setting off what is now a diplomatic crisis.

Everyone wants to be an influencer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The number of people looking to become online influencers has exploded during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Almost anyone can find themselves in a position to become an influencer, and brands are throwing billions of dollars at online content creators.