Lebanese PM Hassan Diab and his cabinet RESIGN over explosion that killed 160: Pressure mounts on Hezbollah-backed President as government collapses and country teeters on the brink amid furious protests over disaster
PM Hassan Diab will address the nation tonight and his health minister says the prime minister will stop
Several ministers have already resigned, while President Michel Aoun is also under pressure to resign.
Number of people who killed and injured
BREAKING: “I declare today the resignation of this government.”
Lebanon’s PM Hassan Diab announces the resignation of his gov’t amid anger over the Beirut blast.
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) August 10, 2020
At least 163 people were killed and more than 6,000 injured in the ammonium nitrate explosion last Tuesday.
The Lebanese prime minister and his cabinet resigned today after the devastating explosion in Beirut that killed at least 163 people.
PM Hassan Diab will address the nation tonight, and his own Health Minister Hamad Hasan says Diab is expected to resign.
Several ministers have already emerged from public outrage over the blast, while Hezbollah-backed President Michel Aoun, who has rejected calls for an international investigation into the disaster, has also faced calls for an end.
The resignation will not force Aoun to resign, but it will paralyze the law in Lebanon’s French-inspired system.
Last Tuesday’s disaster, caused by more than 2,000 tons of highly explosive ammonium nitrate piled up in a warehouse, killed at least 163 people and destroyed parts of the Mediterranean capital. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless.
Many in Lebanon see the explosion as a symbol of corruption and incompetence among the country’s elite, and after months of political and economic collapse, tear gas protests have erupted against protesters.
Much of the anger is directed against the political elite backed by Hezbollah, which is in turn backed by Iran, which has urged foreign countries not to “politicize” the disaster.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab (pictured) and his cabinet will resign after the devastating explosion in Beirut, according to the country’s report.
Lebanese protesters walk today in front of tear gas fired by security forces in Beirut. Many see the explosion as a symbol of corruption and incompetence among the country’s elite, and protests have erupted after months of political and economic collapse.
The devastated port of Beirut can be seen from the air yesterday after a warehouse explosion that killed more than 160 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.
A protester fires a tear gas canister at Lebanese police last night during an anti-government protest in Beirut.
Lebanese protesters clash with security forces near a parliament access road in central Beirut on Sunday for the second night in a row
Diab’s cabinet, formed in January with the support of powerful Iranian-backed Hezbollah, met on Monday with many ministers who wanted to resign.
During the meeting, “the majority of the ministers asked the government to resign,” said Sports and Youth Minister Vartine Ohanian. Another minister said that Diab “is about to resign.”
Health Minister Hasan added that PM Hassan Diab would go to the presidential palace to “deliver the resignation on behalf of all ministers.”
Information and environment ministers and several lawmakers resigned on Sunday, and the justice minister followed them on Monday.
Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, a key IMF negotiator on a rescue plan, reportedly went to the cabinet meeting with a resignation letter.
Lebanon is already targeting $ 20 billion in IMF funding and now faces billions more in disaster costs. Explosion losses are estimated at US $ 10-15 billion.
At least nine lawmakers have also announced that they will resign in protest, as have two top Beirut local government officials.
The Lebanese system is based on that of the former colonial power France, where the president appoints the prime minister and does not have to resign with the cabinet.
However, Aoun is also under pressure to resign, and his portrait was burned by protesters who stormed the State Department building during angry protests over the weekend.
The country’s sectarian power-sharing system requires that the president be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister a Sunni and the speaker of the parliament a Shiite.
Prime Minister Diab, 61, announced on Saturday that he would call early parliamentary elections.