Lebanon News

Diab forms 20-member government despite protests

From left, Berri, Aoun and Diab attend a meeting in Baabda, Jan. 21, 2020. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Hassan Diab will head a 20-member Cabinet after he agreed on a new government with President Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Tuesday.

This comes after Diab was convinced to increase the number of ministers from 18 to 20.

Diab’s government will be coined as a “one-sided” cabinet, virtually reviving the March 8 coalition led by Hezbollah.

Speaking after the announcement of the new government, Diab said it would strive to meet protesters' demands. "It is important now to preserve stability," Diab said in televised remarks.

Although a majority of the ministers are “specialists,” they were handpicked by the country’s traditional political parties.

Outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement, the Lebanese Forces, the Progressive Socialist Party and the Kataeb Party do not have any representation in the new government. These four parties are closely aligned to the West and Saudi Arabia.

Protesters quickly took to the streets to voice their rejection of the new government.

Nationwide anti-government protests have been taking place since Oct. 17 with hundreds of thousands of residents calling for an end to rampant corruption and sectarianism.

Diab's new government will now need a vote of confidence of Lebanon's 128-member Parliament.

It is also unclear if the international community will back the new government with badly needed economic aid.

 

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