Lebanon’s Prime Minister, Hassan Diab and his entire government have stepped down, few days after the blast which destroyed a large portion of the capital Beirut, killing more than 160 people.
Lebanon was already suffering through a bad economic crisis, coupled with rising Coronavirus rates. The Lebanese government has been plagued by accusations of corruption and gross mismanagement.
The government has faced major criticism after it was revealed that the bomb blast was linked to a long forgotten stash of explosive chemicals stored at a port in Beirut.
The blast sparked days of violent protests as dozens of protesters hurled stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at security forces who responded with several rounds of tear gas, leading to the resignation of three cabinet ministers and seven members of parliament last week.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab, addressing the nation on Monday Night in Beirut announced his resignation and that of his government calling the blast a “disaster beyond measure.”
In his speech, Diab berated Lebanon’s ruling political elite for growing “an apparatus of corruption bigger than the state.”
“We have fought valiantly and with dignity,” he said, referring to members of his cabinet.
“Between us and change is big powerful barrier.”
He compared the explosion to an “earthquake that rocked the country” prompting his government to resign. “We have decided to stand with the people,” he said.
Diab, a self-styled reformer, became PM in December, two months after the previous government was brought down.
His government was supported by major political parties, including the Iran-backed political and militant group Hezbollah.
According to the World Bank, more than half of the country’s population is projected to become poor in 2020 as Lebanon’s currency has lost around 70% of its value since anti-government protests began last October.