Hariri proposes new cabinet as anti-government protests continue

Beirut, Jul 14 (EFE).- Lebanese prime minister-designate Saad Hariri on Wednesday proposed a new government to president Michel Aoun as protests continued against the worsening economic and political crisis in the country.

The government comprises 24 ministers and specialists in line with parliament speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative for parties to accept a larger cabinet in which no bloc would have the power to veto.

Hariri had previously proposed an 18-minister cabinet that Aoun rejected, reportedly demanding more members to be able to include two more Christian ministers who would give Aoun’s party the ability to veto.

“For me, this government is capable of stopping the collapse of the country and I await a response from President Aoun tomorrow so that we can further develop what is required,” Hariri posted to his Twitter account after meeting with the president.

The country has been crippled by the worst economic crisis since a years-long civil war ended in 1990, with hyperinflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of medicines, medical supplies and fuel.

The dire situation prompted hundreds of students to gather on Wednesday in front of the Lebanese Education Ministry in Beirut to demand the cancelation of exams for the high school leaving certificate.

The protesters, members of the Lebanese Youth Movement, carried placards and shouted slogans against the Lebanese Education Minister Majzoub.

That protest comes a day after several people were injured in clashes between security forces and the families of the victims of the devastating Beirut explosion in August that left over 200 dead and 6,500 injured.

The protesters were trying to storm the house of interior minister Mohamed Fahmy to demand justice after he denied the judge in charge of the investigation permission to question the head of the Lebanese General Security, Abbas Ibrahim. EFE


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