Lebanese government on verge of collapse after 3 ministers, 8 MPs resign

Lebanon’s government is on the verge of collapsing after the resignation of more ministers from Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s government, along with several MPs and an ambassador.

Diab’s government, which was formed by Hezbollah and its allies, was dubbed as one-sided from the outset.

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Following the Beirut explosions last Tuesday, thousands of Lebanese took to the streets demanding the downfall of the entire ruling elite, including parliament and the government.

Diab’s foreign minister, Nassif Hitti, submitted his resignation before the deadly blasts, and shortly after the explosions, Lebanon’s ambassador to Jordan resigned along with several MPs.

On Sunday, Diab pleaded with ministers not to resign but it appears that his calls were ignored.

Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad and Environment Minister Demianos Kattar resigned and more are expected during the week.

Kattar's resignation came late Sunday, with the minister saying the political system was “old and it had missed many opportunities” to reform.

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Rescuers assist demonstrators during a protest, following Tuesday's blast, in Beirut, Lebanon August 8, 2020.(Reuters)

Rescuers assist demonstrators during a protest, following Tuesday's blast, in Beirut, Lebanon August 8, 2020.(Reuters)

More than a third of the ministers must resign for the government to collapse. In this case, it will continue in its caretaker capacity until a new government is formed. There are 20 ministers in Diab’s government.

Nevertheless, a Hezbollah minister said that the government was “staying put.”
“We will not resign,” Industry Minister Imad Hoballah told reporters Sunday.

But Labor Minister Lamia Yammine was more skeptical and said that no decision had been made on resignations yet.

If Diab’s efforts succeed in salvaging his government, MPs are widely expected to withdraw their vote of confidence for the government.

An aerial view taken on August 7, 2020, shows a partial view of the port of Beirut and the crater caused by the colossal explosion. (AFP)

An aerial view taken on August 7, 2020, shows a partial view of the port of Beirut and the crater caused by the colossal explosion. (AFP)

Eight MPs have announced or submitted their resignations so far. This includes two from Walid Joumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, all three Kataeb Party MPs, two from President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, and another independent MP.

Future MP Dima Jamali has also said she will submit her resignation on Monday but MPs from former PM Saad Hariri’s party said that this was Jamali’s personal choice.

But Jamali told Al Arabiya English that, “Yes, there is talk about the rest of the bloc resigning.”

Jamali said she informed Hariri of her decision and that he was understanding.

There are 128 seats in Lebanon’s parliament.

Parliament speaker Nabih Berri called for a general session on Thursday to discuss the Beirut explosions and question government officials.

Lebanon’s Ambassador to Jordan Tracy Chamoun also announced her resignation on live TV, citing the theft and corruption present in the Lebanese state. She called on all ambassadors to follow suit and not to give legitimacy to the political elite.

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Last Update: Monday, 10 August 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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