Tuesday, May 21, 2024
 
 

Lebanon forms new government after months of protests

EPA-EFE/NABIL MOUNZER
Newly assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks to media after his meeting with Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the Hariri house in Beirut, Lebanon, 19 December 2019. Hassan Diab is named as the new Lebanese Prime Minister by President Michel Aoun after consultations with parliament blocks members in which he gained a 69 vote of the 128-member parliament.

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After months of political chaos, Lebanon has formed a new government made up of specialist ministers, which prime minister Hassan Diab promised to address the demands of the protesters.
Following the resignation of former PM Saad Hariri, people in the country have been protesting for weeks against the delay in chosing a new PM, and were quick to reject Diab, that they consider part of the corrupt system they protested against.
According to Lebanon’s political system, the president has to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister should be a Sunni and the parliament speaker a Shia. Cabinet and parliament seats are equally split between Christians and Muslims.
Diab’s nomination was backed by the country’s Shia Islamist militant group Hezbollah, who makes up a pariamentary majority, and is banned in many countries. However, he promised their support would not obstruct aid from the West. “I expect full support from Europe and the US”, Diab said.
Diab, a former education minister, said his government “will strive to meet their demands for an independent judiciary, for the recovery of embezzled funds, for the fight against illegal gains”.”This is a government that represents the aspirations of the demonstrators who have been mobilised nationwide for more than three months”, he said.
His words have not calmed the protesters, who doubt that the new government will end corruption and poverty: “This new government is the same: thieves came and replaced other thieves. I’m still a student and already know I’ll graduate and not find a job”, a protester said.
Another protester added: “We are here because they don’t listen. We’re here because our parents lived through civil war and manage on less than $300 a month”.

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