New Cabinet announced in Lebanon

New Cabinet announced in Lebanon following months-long impasse and amid ongoing mass protests.

Elad Benari ,

Lebanon's designated Prime Minister Hassan Diab meets President Michel Aoun
Lebanon's designated Prime Minister Hassan Diab meets President Michel Aoun

A new Cabinet was announced in crisis-hit Lebanon late on Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid ongoing mass protests against the country's ruling elite, The Associated Press reported.

Hassan Diab, a 60-year-old professor at the American University of Beirut, now heads a Cabinet of 20 members, mostly specialists backed by political parties.

Diab was designated by President Michel Aoun as prime minister in mid-December, but until Tuesday had failed to form an emergency government amid political divisions and jockeying for power.

He was picked to replace former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on October 29 following the wave of protests.

The move is unlikely to satisfy protesters who have been calling for sweeping reforms in Lebanon and a government made up of independent technocrats.

The protests had been mostly peaceful but they turned violent this week as anti-riot police dispersed protesters with tear gas in the capital Beirut.

The protests in Lebanon were initially started in response to what has become known as the “WhatsApp Tax”, which would have seen a 20-cent daily fee being charged for messaging app users.

The tax was later scrapped but the protests have continued and have morphed into a cross-sectarian street mobilization against a political system seen as corrupt and broken.