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Lebanon cabinet resigns

Prime Minister Hassan Diab addressed the nation to formally announce the government’s resignation

August 10, 2020 at 4:09 pm

Lebanon cabinet has resigned, AP reported the health minister saying today, amid mounting criticism over the government’s response to the explosion which rocked Beirut last week.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab is set to address the nation at 7:30pm local time (4:30 GMT), when he is expected to formally announce the government’s resignation.

The move comes after the Minister for the Environment Damianos Katter and Minister for Information Manal Abdel Samad submitted their resignations yesterday while Minister for Justice Marie-Claude Najm stepped down this morning.

Later today local media reported Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni had arrived at the Grand Serail for today’s cabinet session with his letter of resignation.

Health Minister Hamad Hassan spoke with reporters at the end of the Cabinet and said: “The whole government resigned,” adding that Diab was heading to the presidential palace to hand over the resignations.

Eight MPs and Lebanon’s ambassador to Jordan have also resigned in the wake of the explosions. While, Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti resigned from his post on Monday last week, before Tuesday’s explosions.

Lebanon: 3 ministers, 8 MPs resign after Beirut blast

During a cabinet meeting this afternoon, before the government announced its plan to resign, ministers officially referred the investigation surrounding the Beirut explosion to the Judicial Council.

Last week’s explosions, which was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in Beirut’s port, has killed more than 200, injuring thousands more and devastating the capital city.

Massive blast rocks Beirut, Lebanon - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Massive blast rocks Beirut, Lebanon – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The blasts reignited nationwide anti-government protests which started in October 2019 denouncing government corruption and calling for an overhaul of the sectarian political system.

In recent days, thousands of Lebanese have attended demonstrations in downtown Beirut with some storming the foreign ministry and burning a picture of Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun. Protesters later stormed the energy and economy ministries.

Meanwhile, protesters in downtown Beirut’s Martyrs Square erected mock gallows calling on politicians to resign.

Diab’s government is expected to continue as a caretaker government until a parliament can agree on a new nomination to head the government – a process which has been known to take months.