Lebanon's prime minister and his entire cabinet have resigned following last week's deadly explosion in Beirut
- Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced in a press conference on Monday that his government would resign from power following the explosion in Beirut.
- His announcement came after several of his 20 cabinet members announced their own resignations.
- The August 4 explosion in Beirut killed at least 160 people and injured 6,000 others.
“I declare today the resignation of this government,” he said at a press conference at the presidential palace on Monday, after several members of his 20-person cabinet announced their own resignations.
The resignation means that Lebanon will have to form a new cabinet, just months after forming Diab’s earlier this year.
Ahead of Diab’s announcement, several members of parliament also resigned, according to the Associated Press.
“Only God knows how many catastrophes they are hiding,” Diab said at his press conference, the Washington Post reported. “That’s why I have announced my resignation today. May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon. May Allah protect Lebanon.”
According to the AP, Diab blamed the explosion on corruption that preceded him in office.
“They (the political class) should have been ashamed of themselves because their corruption is what has led to this disaster that had been hidden for seven years,” he said.
The mass resignation comes after an August 4 explosion in Beirut that killed at least 160 people in injured another 6,000.
The explosion was fuelled by thousands of tons of explosive ammonium nitrate, which had been improperly stored in a warehouse near the port for years. Business Insider’s Ryan Pickrell previously reported that the explosion registered as a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.
Several people have been detained for questioning over the blast, including the head of Lebanon’s customs department and the head of the port where the chemicals had been stored. Two former cabinet officials and the heads of the country’s security agencies have also been questioned, government officials told AP.
Resignations in the government’s cabinet started on Sunday when the information and environment ministers stepped down, and several others followed, Reuters reported. Diab is expected to announce the entire government would resign in his Monday press conference.
The explosion also led to violent protests, with demonstrators accusing the government of neglect leading up to the blast, which caused an estimated $US10 billion to 15 billion in damage.
Lebanon’s president and prime minister had received a report on July 20 – two weeks before the blast – in which state security officials warned government leaders of the dangers of storing chemicals in the port. An investigation into why nothing was done has been launched.
World leaders have pledged $US300 million to help Lebanon rebuild following the explosion, but much of the funds are being withheld until government officials address protesters and set out plans for political and economic reform.
This article first appeared in Business Insider Australia
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