Independent, professional new gov’t urged in Lebanon

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DM Monitoring

BEIRUT: Local analysts emphasized on Monday the need in Lebanon for an independent government formed by professionals following the resignation of Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet earlier in the day.
Diab announced the cabinet’s resignation following the huge explosions that smashed Beirut’s port last Tuesday, killing 160 people at least, and wounding around 6,000 others.
The ruling political class then faced heavy criticism by the Lebanese people who accused the government of negligence and recklessness by storing a huge volume of ammonium nitrate at the port which may have caused the huge explosions.
Diab also attributed his resignation to widespread corruption in the country which prevented his government from adopting a proper roadmap while implementing necessary reforms to save Lebanon from its current crisis.
After the explosions, people took to the streets to protest against the cabinet and the whole ruling political class while demanding for a completely independent government capable of working in the interest of Lebanon in addition to early parliamentary elections.
Ibrahim Halawi, lecturer on Middle East politics at Royal Holloway, University of London, told Xinhua that an independent government with executive power should be formed, which would allow it to implement necessary reforms without being manipulated by sectarian leaders.
Halawi said that Lebanon should avoid the return of the status quo, and revive the state by allowing the new government to build the foundations for a civil state, starting with a rapid and comprehensive fiscal and accounting study of the state’s losses and reserves, as well as a population census, which has not been done since 1932, the only country in the world that hasn’t done a demographic study for this long.
“The census allows the government to re-establish its relationship with actual citizens, not with abstract sizes of sects, and the study allows it to make informed decisions on how to distribute the resources fairly and prepare for the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” Halawi said.