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Lebanon government wins confidence vote amid protests

EPA-EFE/NABIL MOUNZER
Anti-government protesters set fire on a road leading to the Parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, 11 February 2020. Anti-government protesters gathered in downtown Beirut on 11 February to prevent members of Parliament from reaching Parliament building and to reject the new government formed on 21 January 2020 by Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

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Lebanon’s Parliament has backed a new cabinet and the government’s financial plan in a vote of confidence held despite protesters who rejected it.
63 of 84 MPs present gave their confidence to the new government formed last month after months of political chaos. The country’s Shia Islamist militant group Hezbollah and its allies backed the government, while the Future Movement of former PM Saad Hariri voted no confidence along with its allies. Hezbollah makes up a pariamentary majority, and is banned in many countries.
Prime minister Hassan Diab, former education minister, promised to address the demands of the protesters, who doubt that the new government will end corruption and poverty. Before the vote, he said his government’s priority was preserving foreign currency needed for imports.
Security forces used batons, tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the roads of protesters, who threw stones at the MP’s vehicles.
Diab read the new government’s policy statement, and announced the measures aimed at addressing the financial crisis, including fiscal and administrative reforms, fight against corruption, tax evasion and smuggling. He also said the government would seek to establish the independence of the judiciary within 100 days.

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