Lebanese President Voices Optimism on New Cabinet
BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Lebanese President Michel Aoun says that a new phase has begun in Lebanon after the new cabinet’s success in gaining a vote of confidence a day earlier, a statement by the president’s office reported.
"I am sure that Lebanon will get over its current crisis and restore its prosperity,” Aoun said during his meeting with Joseph Habis, Singapore’s honorary consul-general in Lebanon.
Aoun assured that any official who has stolen money from the Treasury will be tried according to laws.
"It is very important at this point to differentiate between the honest politicians and those involved in corruption,” Aoun said.
The Lebanese parliament threw its support behind the new cabinet led by Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Tuesday in a vote of confidence held amid ongoing protests over the country’s economic crisis.
Sixty-three out of 84 Lebanese lawmakers voted to back the new administration after an eight-hour parliamentary session.
The vote comes as Lebanon and the new government is facing one of the worst crises in the county’s recent history.
"We have accepted to assume this mission amidst perilous circumstances and as the country endures an exceptional conjuncture, all emanating from our national spirit,” Diab read from his new government’s policy statement after securing the confidence vote.
"Lebanon is facing stifling and decisive crises, which require a major overhaul and action, including some agonizing measures,” he said.
Diab also stressed that his new government -- made up of 20 specialist ministers backed by the country’s political parties -- would undertake fiscal and administrative reforms, fight corruption, tax evasion and smuggling, and seek to establish the independence of the judiciary within 100 days.
The formation of the new government under Diab came after the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement and its allies agreed on a cabinet that must urgently address the economic crisis and ensuing protests that toppled its predecessor.
The country had been without an effective government since Saad al-Hariri submitted his resignation as premier to Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun in October.
Since October 17, Lebanon has been rocked by nationwide protests against rising inflation and living costs as the government struggles to attract investment amid increasing economic hardships and a decreasing capital flow to the country.