ADDS MORE DETAILS
By Mahmut Geldi
BEIRUT (AA) - Lebanon formed a new government Tuesday with Hassan Diab, known for his close ties to Hezbollah, as its new prime minister.
The move comes nearly three months after the previous government resigned amid mass protests in the country.
President Michel Aoun received Diab and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri at the presidential palace.
Following the meeting, Diab announced the new 20-member cabinet at a news conference.
Noting that the cabinet is made up of technocrats, Diab said they will work on the new election law.
He said Lebanon was going through difficult times and was fighting for the first time in its history to establish a government with the characteristics to save the country.
He also stressed that his cabinet was formed in line with protesters’ expectations, adding they would work for the return of looted public funds and the independence of the judiciary.
Lebanon has been rocked by protests since October last year. The small country of six million suffers from high unemployment, slow growth and one of the highest debt ratios in the world, with the debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Finance Ministry.
The unrest forced then-Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign on Oct. 29 amid the country's worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara