Beirut: A new government was announced in Lebanon late on Tuesday, breaking a months-long impasse amid ongoing mass protests and economic turmoil.
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.
The move, which comes three months after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, is unlikely to satisfy protesters. They have been calling for sweeping reforms and a government made up of independent technocrats that could deal with the country’s crippling economic and financial crisis, the worst the country has faced in decades.
Shortly before the Cabinet was announced, thousands of people poured into the street closing major roads in Beirut and other parts of the country in rejection of the new government.
Their anger was directed at political groups, saying they had named the new ministers.
“It’s time to get to work,” Diab said in a speech addressing the country following the announcement.
He saluted the protesters in the street and vowed to “work to fulfill your demands,” claiming that his was the first government in the history of Lebanon to be made up entirely of technocrats. He insisted the 20 ministers were specialists who had no political loyalties and were not partisan.