Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab Resigns over Beirut Explosion

In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, left, receives a letter of resignation from Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab, at the presidential palace, in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. Lebanon's prime minister stepped down from his job on …
Dalati Nohra via AP

Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned on Monday afternoon, following the resignations of several other top ministers and effectively bringing the current Lebanese government to a close.

Diab referred to the catastrophic explosion at the Port of Beirut last week as a “crime” that occurred due to widespread corruption and called for those responsible to face the consequences.

Nine lawmakers and four ministers resigned over the past week, most recently including Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm on Monday morning. Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, a key player in Lebanon’s effort to obtain a financial rescue package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), resigned during a Cabinet meeting on Sunday. Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti resigned the day before the explosion in Beirut, describing Lebanon as a “failed state” and comparing the country to a ship that was sinking with all hands on board.

In his own resignation announcement, Prime Minister Diab said reform seemed impossible because the system of corruption in Lebanon has grown larger and more powerful than the government itself. He said he wanted to take “a step back” from the government so he could join with the Lebanese people and “fight the battle for change alongside them.”

“I declare today the resignation of this government. May God protect Lebanon,” he said.

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