Lebanon’s new PM promises a government of experts in nod to protest movement

Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Lebanon’s new PM promises a government of experts in nod to protest movement and now with details

Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Lebanon’s newly designated prime minister said he plans to form a government of experts and independents to deal with the country’s crippling economic crisis.

Hassan Diab spoke to reporters on Friday following a meeting with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a day after he was asked by the president to form the country’s next government. Mr Diab, who is backed by the militant Hezbollah group and its allies, begins his task with the backdrop of ongoing nationwide protests against Lebanon’s ruling elite.

Mr Diab said he would attmept to form a working government in a short period of time.

"Previous governments in the last decade took a year to form and I seek to form a government in the next four weeks or a period that does not exceed six weeks," Mr Diab said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

Hours after he spoke, riots by his opponents broke out in Beirut, leaving at least seven soldiers injured.

Scuffles on a major avenue in Beirut intensified after Sunnis who apparently support Mr Hariri closed it to protest Mr Diab’s nomination. When the army worked on opening the road in Beirut’s western Mazraa neighborhood, the protesters hurled stones and fire crackers at troops and riot policemen, injuring at least seven soldiers, the Lebanese army said.

As clashes intensified, Mr Hariri tweeted to his followers to leave. "Anyone who loves me should leave the streets immediately," he tweeted on Friday afternoon.

Outgoing Interior Minister Raya El Hassan, a member of Mr Hariri’s Future Movement, also issued a statement urging protesters to leave the streets “to avoid dangers and strife.”

The protesters had earlier blocked the main highway linking Beirut with southern Lebanon with burning tires, causing a miles-long traffic jam. The army opened the road briefly in the town of Naameh before protesters closed it again with flaming tires.

The road closures in Beirut and Naameh were carried out by protesters angered by what they said was Hezbollah and its allies deciding who takes the country’s top Sunni post. Hezbollah has backed Mr Hariri for prime minister from the start, but they differed over the shape of the new government.

“I ask (protesters) to give us a chance to form an exceptional government” that can work on resolving the country’s many problems, accumulated over the past 30 years, Mr Diab said.

It was not immediately clear if the riots that broke out in Beirut will affect Mr Diab’s consultations with members of parliament scheduled for Saturday in preparation for the formation of the Cabinet.

Diab, a university professor and former education minister, won a majority of lawmakers’ votes after receiving backing from Hezbollah. However, he lacks the support of major Sunni figures, including the largest Sunni party headed by Mr Hariri.

Newly assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab speaks to media after his meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the presidential palace in Baabda. EPA

Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and the newly assigned Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, during their meeting at the presidential palace in Baabda. EPA

Lebanese security forces move into position outside of the home of newly-assigned Lebanese Prime Minister, Hassan Diab. AP

Lebanese riot police stand guard outside the residence of the Lebanese designated Prime Minister Hassan Diab in Beirut. EPA

Lebanese riot police stand guard outside the residence of the Lebanese designated Prime Minister Hassan Diab in Beirut. EPA

Lebanese anti-corruption protesters shout slogans outside the parliament to denounce the nomination of Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab in the capital Beirut. AFP

Lebanese anti-corruption protesters shout slogans outside the parliament to denounce the nomination of Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab. AFP

A Lebanese child walks by burning tyres during a rally by supporters of outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri. AFP

Lebanese supporters of outgoing prime minister Saad Hariri block a road with burning dumpsters in the Qasqas neighbourhood of the capital Beirut. AFP

Crisis-hit Lebanon's president on Thursday named former minister Hassan Diab, backed by Shiite movement Hezbollah, as the country's new prime minister. AFP

Supporters of outgoing Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri burn dumpsters and woods as they block the main highway to protest against the nomination of Hassan Diab as prime minister. EPA

The little-known 60-year-old engineering professor at the American University of Beirut (AUB) replaces outgoing premier Saad Hariri amid nationwide anti-government protests and the worst economic crisis since Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war. AFP

That is particularly problematic for Mr Diab, who as a Sunni, lacks support from his own community. And under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing agreement, the prime minister must be Sunni.

Mr Diab, however, emerged from Friday’s meeting with Mr Hariri saying the atmosphere was “positive.”

“As an expert and an independent, my inclination is to form a government that is truly made up of experts and independents,” he said.

In the first US comments after Mr Diab’s appointment as prime minister, senior State Department official David Hale, who arrived on Friday to underline Washington's support for Lebanon's stability, urged the bickering political leaders to implement speedy economic reforms.

"It's time to put aside partisan interests and act in the national interest, advancing reforms and form a government committed to undertaking these reforms and capable of doing so," said Mr Hale said after meeting President Michel Aoun.

He later met parliament speaker Nabih Berri and had lunch with Mr Hariri.

Washington, which Hezbollah accuses of inciting some protesters, was not meddling in Lebanon's politics, Mr Hale said.

Aoun told Hale the new government had "many tasks ahead" of it and said peaceful protesters were being protected by the army to safeguard freedom of speech.

Western countries have been holding $11 billion in loans and grants made by international donors at a conference in Paris last year until reforms are carried out in Lebanon, where corruption and mismanagement are widespread.

Mr Hale, on his visit Friday to Beirut, did not directly comment on Diab’s appointment, saying only that the United States “has no role in saying who should lead” a Cabinet in Lebanon or anywhere else.

“I’m here to encourage Lebanon’s political leaders to commit to, and undertake, meaningful, sustained reforms that can lead to a stable, prosperous and secure Lebanon,” he said after meeting President Michel Aoun.

Hale is the most senior foreign diplomat to visit the country since mass protests erupted in mid-October. The sustained, leaderless protests forced Hariri’s resignation within days but politicians were later unable to agree on a new prime minister. The ongoing protests and paralysis, meanwhile, worsened the economic crisis.

Updated: December 21, 2019 01:49 PM

These were the details of the news Lebanon’s new PM promises a government of experts in nod to protest movement for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at The National and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV La Liga news: Barcelona’s expected squad in today’s match against Real...
NEXT the sad announcement posted on Twitter