Thousands of protesters on Saturday took to the street across Lebanon to demonstrate against the appointment of Prime Minister Hassan Diab.
The demonstrators said that they refused Diab’s appointment because it would empower corrupted political parties who were adopting the same old concept of arguing about shares in the government, which should not be the case amid the current pressing economic and financial challenges prevailing in the country.
According to civil society protester, this concept is no longer accepted in Lebanon. Officials are still allocating ministries among them while neglecting people’s demands”.
They later marched toward the parliament building guarded by scores of riot police. Unlike last week, when scuffles were reported between protesters and policemen outside the parliament, there was no violence on Sunday.
Prime Minister-designate Diab, a university professor and former education minister, will have the task of steering Lebanon out of its worst economic and financial crisis in decades. He’s also taking office against the backdrop of ongoing nationwide protests against the country’s ruling elite that the protesters blame for widespread corruption and mismanagement.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, the head of the largest Sunni group in Lebanon, resigned on October 29, meeting a key demand of the protesters.
According to Lebanon’s power-sharing system, the prime minister has to be a Sunni.
“We are not convinced by their choice,” protester Hanaa Saleh said about Diab’s nomination. “We don’t believe this movie.”
In Washington, a State Department spokesperson said that US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale had encouraged Lebanese leaders during his two-day visit last week “to put aside partisan interests and support formation of a government committed to and capable of undertaking meaningful, sustained reforms.”
Hale “reaffirmed America’s longstanding partnership and enduring commitment to a secure, stable, and prosperous Lebanon,” Morgan Ortagus said.
(With inputs from agency)