Lebanon PM Hariri announces resignation amid anti-gov’t protests

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced resignation on Tuesday amid nationwide anti-government protests, Al Jadeed TV reported.

“I tried to find a solution to our crises in the past period and to listen to people’s needs and protect the country from security and economic dangers but I have reached a dead end,” Hariri said in his address to the Lebanese people.

“We need a positive shock to solve this crisis,” he added.

Hariri also called on the people to “put Lebanon’s civil and economic security at the forefront of their priorities.”

However, the protesters in the streets said Hariri’s resignation is not enough and they will stay in the streets until the whole political class is changed and officials are held accountable for their corrupt approach in the past years.

Over 1 million protesters from different ages, religions and sects took to the streets in Lebanon 13 days ago to demonstrate against corruption and the government’s policies.

The protesters complained about the absence of basic services such as proper healthcare, electricity and clean water supply as well as to the high unemployment rate among the youth.

They also asked for early parliamentary elections to allow new lawmakers to work in favor of the Lebanese people.

This prompted Hariri to come up last week with an economic paper which included a 2020 state budget with a 0.6-percent deficit, and a 50-percent reduction in the salaries of ministers, parliament members and former members of parliament.

Hariri’s plan was supported by both President Michel Aoun and the Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah but failed to satisfy the protesters.

The Lebanese economy has been under a tremendous amount of pressure with a budget deficit of 11.4 percent of GDP and alarmingly high public debt.