Beirut – Following the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut and the resignation of the government, Lebanon faces an uncertain political future.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab officially declared the end of his cabinet on Monday evening. The big political blocs must now agree on a successor. Due to the severe economic crisis, the corona pandemic and the aftermath of the detonation, there is great pressure to reach an agreement quickly. Hezbollah, which is loyal to Iran and cannot be ruled in Lebanon, will play a central role.
In the center of the capital, clashes between security forces and demonstrators took place in the evening. They tried to cross the barrier at the parliament in the center of the city, as can be seen in the photos of the Lebanese channel LBCI. They also threw stones. Security forces used tear gas to drive out the crowds.
After the explosion, with at least 160 dead and more than 6,000 injured, many Lebanese have finally lost confidence in the political elite and are calling for deep political change. There are also several calls for reform from abroad.
UN Secretary General António Guterres called for political changes. “In this time of persistent grief and frustration, the anger of the Lebanese people is palpable. Their voices must be heard,” Guterres said. Reforms are needed to meet the needs of the people. He also promised the Lebanese people long-term support. Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) wants to get an idea of the situation in Beirut on Wednesday.
France’s foreign ministry said it was now essential that the aspirations for reform and government expressed by the Lebanese people were heard. In this context, priority must be given to the rapid formation of a government which would prove itself to the people.
Diab’s office remains in place for the moment. Many Lebanese blame the government for the devastating explosion last Tuesday. In contrast, Diab attributed it to “chronic corruption” in Lebanon. The detonation was reportedly triggered by large quantities of the highly explosive chemical ammonium nitrate, which had been stored there for years without any safety measures. The case is still ongoing.
In the past, forming a government in Lebanon has often taken a long time due to many different interests. Power in the small Mediterranean country is distributed among the denominations according to a proportional system. The prime minister must always be a Sunni, the head of state a Christian and the speaker of parliament a Shiite.
The Prime Minister initially announced this weekend that he would propose an early election to the cabinet on Monday. He wanted to calm the situation down. The next vote on Parliament is actually scheduled for Lebanon in 2022.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200811-99-119831 / 2