Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri has said he will submit his resignation to President Michel Aoun, satisfying one of the main demands of the country’s protest movement.
The announcement on Tuesday came on the back of 13 days of mass anti-government protests demanding the departure of the country’s entire political elite amid growing anger over official corruption, poor public services and years of economic mismanagement.
“We have reached a deadlock and we need a shock in order to brave through the crisis,” Hariri said in a televised statement from the capital, Beirut.
“I’m heading to the presidential palace to tender the resignation of the government … This is in response to the will and demand of the thousands of Lebanese demanding change,” he added.
Defying pleas from the country’s top politicians, protesters on Tuesday sought to keep Lebanon on lockdown by cutting off access to some of the main thoroughfares, including the main north-south highway.
Earlier in the day, people believed to be supporters of Hezbollah and its ally Amal forced protesters from a roadblock they had set up in Beirut, tearing down their tents and fighting with them, forcing the police to intervene.
The two-week crisis has paralysed Lebanon, closing banks, schools and some businesses. Lebanon’s banking association said banks would remain shut on Tuesday for a tenth straight working day, but added that the central bank had provided the liquidity necessary to pay out salaries for public sector workers, including members of security forces.
Hariri’s resignation would be seen as defying the powerful Shia group Hezbollah, whose leader Hassan Nasrallah has twice said he was against such a step, citing the risk of a dangerous void.
On Monday, Aoun said he was “following developments”.
Rami Khouri, a senior public policy fellow and journalism professor at the American University of Beirut, described Hariri’s move as a “huge victory” for the protest movement and a “critical turning point”.
He added, however, that the prime minister was the “weakest link” in the country’s coalition government, which grouped nearly all of Lebanon’s main parties, including Hezbollah.
“He was the low-hanging fruit who was likely to resign,” Khouri said.
“The question now is will this trigger a process by which Hezbollah, which is the critical player in the background, as well as the president and his party … will those people agree to a technocratic government, which goes on to the next step of the demands of the protesters?”
the point is now what’s the next step, the next step is for the president to appoint someone to form a new cabinet, and this is a very difficult task, most likely I expect that Hariri will be re-appointed again as Prime Minister. (edited)
the word Palace is not clear, he is interrupted by the presenter, but the immediate sentence is where the president resides
Naim Salem, a professor at Notre Dame University, said the next step was for Aoun to appoint a replacement for Hariri.
“This is a very difficult task, and most likely I expect that Hariri will be reappointed again as prime minister, designated to form a new cabinet,” he told Al Jazeera from Beirut.
“The need now is to put [together] this new cabinet, [with] people that have the highest level of integrity … there will be much give and take, much pulling of strings between the major political parties in the country.”
SUPPORT MUSLIM NEWS NIGERIA
With your generous financial contributions to MUSLIM NEWS, you are helping to sustain a culture of journalistic integrity that promotes tranquil Islamic values and ensures it remains free and available to all.