New Govt. Holds First Meeting as Protests Persist
The newly formed government in crisis-hit Lebanon held its first meeting on Wednesday at Baabda Palace and was chaired by President Michel Aoun.
The government meeting was held directly after having the official commemorative photo taken.
A meeting between Aoun, new Prime Minister Hassan Diab and Speaker Nabih Berri was held before the government convened.
When asked about his opinion of the new government, smiling Berri who seldom makes comments to reporters, said: “The media are pessimistic, but we are optimistic.”
The cabinet was formed Tuesday breaking a months-long impasse amid mass protests against the country's ruling elite and a crippling financial crisis, but demonstrations and violence continued overnight and early today.
Diab, a 60-year-old former professor at the American University of Beirut, announced a Cabinet of 20 members — mostly specialists supported by Hizbullah and allied political parties.
The new government, which comes three months after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, was rejected by protesters who have been calling for sweeping reforms and a government made up of independent technocrats that can deal with the country's economic and financial crisis, the worst since the 1975-90 civil war.