01/22/2020, 10.17
LEBANON
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Beirut: Prime Minister Diab unveils government but protests continue

The announcement came late yesterday evening after a meeting between the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic. Since the night, protesters have blocked numerous streets across the country and tried to break through the cordon to protect Parliament. The executive is not comprised of external technicians but "experts" linked to the various political movements.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The announcement late yesterday evening of the formation of the new Lebanese government, welcomed with satisfaction by the UN secretary general after months of serious political crisis and street demonstrations, has not stopped the population's protest.

Overnight and in the early morning today, demonstrators blocked numerous communication routes and roads in Beirut, Tripoli and Békaa.

The new executive led by Hassane Diab, unveiled shortly after 10 pm after a meeting with President of the Republic Michel Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, seems insufficient to appease the vast popular discontent.

Since October 29, following the resignation of the then Prime Minister Saad Hariri in front of the vast protest movement, the country has been without leadership and even this new formation does not seem to be enough to resolve the crisis.

Even before the official announcement of the new executive, some protesters gathered in the center of the capital, where riot police were deployed, to prevent access to Parliament. The demonstrations, initially peaceful, degenerated into clashes between citizens and law enforcement agencies overnight following an attempt to remove the barriers protection Parliament, which was followed by the throwing of stones in the direction of the police.

In Tripoli, the crowd blocked Riad al-Solh avenue and the el-Mina intersection with garbage cans. Others blocked the Naameh highway, which connects the capital to the south, the Beddawi highway that leads to the north and the al-Mazraa road to Beirut along the coast.

Exacerbated by economic hardships, anti-government protests escalated in mid-December, when it became clear that, largely because of cross-vetoes, no one was going to be able to form a government to replace the one that resigned on 29 October. On several occasions, top Church leaders have reminded politicians about their responsibility and the urgency to stir the ship of state in a country that is dangerously close to a cliff.

The new government, which needs a vote of confidence that appears to be taken for granted in Parliament, does not include independent technicians as promised by Diab at the time of the appointment, but "experts" whose allocations on the different portfolios are established by the various political parties, especially the Free Patriotic Current (Cpl), the Shiite factions and the Marada movement.

The new government was formed only after the interim Prime Minister accepted the condition placed by Hezbollah to expand the team to 20 elements instead of the 18 initially announced. Diab then renounced the Ministry of Labor that he wanted to entrust to Damien Kattar, accepting the conditions imposed by Marada that pressed for Michel Najjar.

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