Lebanon’s Government to be dissolved in wake of Beirut explosion

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Lebanon’s Prime Minister is expected to announce the resignation of his Government within hours.

The announcement is a result of growing public outrage after the devastating explosion, triggered by more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate at Beirut’s port killed at least 163 people and injured over 6,000.

The explosion destroyed swathes of the bustling Mediterranean capital, and compounded months of political and economic meltdowns in Lebanon.

The cabinet, formed in January with the backing of the powerful Hezbollah group and its allies, met on Monday, with many ministers wanting to resign, according to ministerial and political sources.

Health Minister Hamad Hasan told Reuters that Prime Minister Hassan Diab would soon announce the resignation of the entire cabinet.

Mr Diab was set to deliver an address to the nation at 7:30pm local time (2:30am), his office said.

Lebanese people sick of corruption

For many ordinary Lebanese, the explosion was the last straw in a protracted crisis over the collapse of the economy, endemic corruption, waste and dysfunctional governance, and they have taken to the streets demanding root-and-branch change.

The information and environment ministers quit on Sunday as well as several lawmakers, and the justice minister followed them out the door on Monday.

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Drone footage shows extent of Beirut destruction

Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni, a key negotiator with the IMF over a rescue plan to help Lebanon exit a financial crisis, prepared his resignation letter and brought it with him to the cabinet meeting, a source close to him and local media said.

Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun, had previously said explosive material was stored unsafely for years at the port.

Mr Aoun later said the investigation would consider whether the cause was external interference as well as negligence or an accident.

Anti-government protests in the past two days have been the biggest since October, when angry demonstrations spread over an economic crisis rooted in pervasive graft, mismanagement and high-level unaccountability.

Protesters accused the political elite of siphoning off state resources for their own benefit.

Reuters

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