Lebanese Protesters Urge PM to Form Cabinet
BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Protesters in Lebanon have vowed to escalate their demonstrations if the newly appointed prime minister Hassan Diab fails to form a cabinet of independent ministers within 48 hours, MTV local TV Channel reported on Tuesday.
The protesters organized a march from Beirut’s downtown to the house of Diab to voice their demands.
They vowed to force the prime minister to resign if the new cabinet is not formed within 48 hours.
The protesters have been asking for the formation of a government with independent ministers who are capable of introducing structural reforms to save the country’s economy.
Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday that "obstacles” had prevented the formation of a new government which was expected last week.
Aoun said Lebanon was currently paying the price for 30 years of wrong financial policies.
Lebanon has been facing a tough economic situation because of the policies of successive governments, prompting people to hold numerous protest rallies since October last year, when the government proposed imposing a tax on WhatsApp calls, along with other austerity measures.
On October 29, then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri, under pressure from unprecedented cross-sectarian protests, stepped down, creating the political void.
In December, Hassan Diab was designated prime minister. He vowed to form a government made up of "independent specialists” who did not belong to political parties. However, the 60-year-old former education minister and self-professed "technocrat” has so far failed to form an emergency government amid political divisions and jockeying for power, leaving Lebanon with no choice other than having a caretaker government.
Following a lull, protesters on Tuesday said they were resolute to force authorities, accused of being inefficient and corrupt, to resign and to form an independent and capable government.
"We’ve gone back to closing down roads because we can’t stand it anymore,” said a protester, a mother of three, adding, "What we earn today is not enough to buy the basics for home.”