Lebanese took to streets Tuesday in several cities to reject the cabinet of Prime Minister Hassan Diab formed following months-long political turmoil, triggered by economic hardship and public outcry against corruption.
President Michel Aoun Tuesday vented the 20-minister cabinet tasked to end the country’s worst economic crisis in recent history.
Diab, former education minister and professor at the American University of Beirut was proposed last month for the Prime Minister job after famous Sunni leader and longtime Premier Saad Hariri stepped down in October under public pressure decrying corruption and mismanagement.
Speaking after unveiling his cabinet, the 61-year old new PM indicated that the line-up meets the aspirations of Lebanese who have been demonstrating for months as they also demanded a government of technocrats and independent experts.
The Prime Minister who received support from powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah and its allies said his government will strive to meet demands for an independent judiciary, for the recovery of embezzled funds, and for the fight against illegal gains, AFP reports.
The announcement of the new team was greeted with anger and fresh demonstrations in several cities across the country.
A group of demonstrators, AFP noted, had gathered in the streets of Beirut before the cabinet was even unveiled, blocking off a main street in the center of the capital.
A group of protesters reportedly tried to break police barriers near the Parliament. Security forces responded with tear gas and water cannon to push away angry citizens.
Hariri’s party and allies have opted to stay out of the new cabinet that includes five women.