The 20 cabinet ministers do not come from the country’s traditional political parties. They are now supposed to lead Lebanon out of the crisis.
After mass protests across the country and a month-long delay, Lebanon has a new government. President Michel Aoun confirmed the 20 new ministers proposed by the new Prime Minister Hassan Diab. Diab has announced that it will go to the demonstrators who have been protesting mismanagement and corruption in the country for months. His government would work for an independent judiciary and fight corruption.
“It’s time to get to work,” said Diab after cabinet formation. His government is the first of its kind in Lebanon. The ministers of the new cabinet do not come from the country’s traditional political parties, many of whom are academics or former advisors. Also, a woman was appointed Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon for the first time. This is to meet a central demand of the demonstrators. They had demanded that the entire political leadership step down.
The former minister of education and university professor Diab had long been unable to form a new cabinet due to the power struggle of the most important political blocs. Shiite Hezbollah, which maintains close contacts with Iran, is particularly strong in Lebanon. With the support of Hezbollah and President Michel Aoun, Diab has been appointed as the new head of government. His predecessor Saad Hariri resigned after mass protests against the poor economic situation in October. Since then, Lebanon has been without a government.
Shortly after the new cabinet was announced, opponents of the government, burned tires and blocked roads protested across the country. Others gathered near the parliament building in Beirut and hurled stones at police officers. This shot back with tear gas. “Yes, there are new names and faces, but they seem to be advisors to ministers and ministers are now advisors,” said a demonstrator to the German Press Agency after the announcement. “You are deceiving the Lebanese people,” said another, who spoke of “secret agendas behind new faces”.