İrem UZUN -TDO- Lebanon’s new cabinet won a vote of confidence from Parliament on Tuesday, paving the way for it to try and tackle the country’s crippling economic and financial crisis, despite a day of protests and riots that left nearly 400 people injured.
Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s Cabinet, which is supported by Hezbollah and its allies, won votes from the majority of parliament members present in the 128-member legislature. At the end of the day, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said 63 legislators voted in favour, 20 did not give a vote of confidence and one abstained.
Speaking ahead of the vote, Diab said he fully realized the massive task ahead but was confident it was still possible to rescue Lebanon’s economy from complete collapse - and that his government would get to work immediately. “The ball of fire is spiralling quickly and if the flame is not controlled by this government then it will burn everyone,’’ Diab said. “We will do all we can to put Lebanon on track of reforms.’’
Earlier in the day, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters near the parliament building in Beirut, where the new Cabinet presented a policy statement on reforms. Protesters threw stones at security forces and tried to block the lawmakers’ path, delaying the start of the meeting. A group of rioters later set fire to a bank in the downtown area. Nearly 400 people, including a legislator and a journalist, were injured in the riots, some of whom were rushed to a hospital for treatment.