News Alerts

19 Dec 2019 | 07:57 PM UTC

Lebanon: President Aoun nominates Hassan Diab as prime minister amid ongoing protests December 19 /update 58

Lebanon News Alert

Lebanon’s President Aoun nominates Hassan Diab as prime minister amid ongoing protests December 19; further protests expected over the near term

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/19/2019, 12:00 AM until 12/21/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Beirut, Lebanon, Tripoli

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Event

Following a day of consultations with the Lebanese Parliament on Thursday, December 19, President Michel Aoun designated former education minister Hassan Diab to serve as the next prime minister. This decision follows caretaker prime minister Saad Hariri's announcement on Wednesday, December 18, that he would withdraw his name from consideration for the position. Activists called for demonstrations protesting the decision immediately following President Aoun's announcement on Thursday. Protesters reportedly gathered on Place de l'Etoile in Beirut on Thursday evening. Rallies and roadblocks have been reported near PM-designate Diab's residence in the Tallet al-Khayat area of Beirut, along with related demonstrations across Beirut and Tripoli.

Violent protests are likely to continue in Beirut, Tripoli, and other urban centers nationwide over the coming hours and days. A heightened security presence and transportation and business disruptions are to be expected near any demonstration site.

Context

On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products and a daily tax on messages and calls done via the WhatsApp mobile phone messenger application. The announcement sparked mass protests across the country on October 17, forcing the government to revoke the tax proposal. Since, protests have evolved, calling for the resignation of the government and have continued despite an emergency reform package announced by Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 21. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation. Former finance minister, Mohammad Safadi, who was expected to be appointed as Hariri's successor, declined on November 17, stating the difficulties to form a legitimate cabinet. On December 19, President Michel Aoun designated former education minister Hassan Diab to serve as the next prime minister

Advice

Individuals in Beirut, and in Lebanon more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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