Lebanese Prime Minister Resigns Amid Anti-Government Protests

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation Tuesday after 13 days of unprecedented anti-government protests demanding political and economic reform.

In a televised address, the prime minister said he had “reached a dead end” and would submit his resignation to President Michel Aoun.

“I’m going to the presidential palace to submit the resignation of the government,” he said. “This is in response to the will and demand of the thousands of Lebanese demanding change.”

Hariri urged all political actors to protect Lebanon’s stability and improve its troubled economy.

Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have taken to the streets in mainly peaceful protests across the tiny country, which lies on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean. They are demanding major economic reforms, and an overhaul of a political class considered corrupt and incompetent.

The prime minister’s resignation is unlikely to be enough to satisfy them.

“This is their first demand,” said Randa Slim, senior fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “The next demand is going to be the formation of a technocratic cabinet — apolitical and nonpartisan,” she told VOA.

The demonstrations have paralyzed the country, forcing the closure of banks, schools and some businesses over the past two weeks.

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