Following 100 days of anti-corruption protests in the country, Lebanon has formed a new government led by non-partisan Prime Minister Hassan Diab and a cabinet of technocrats, but backed by Hezbollah and its allies.
Despite being made up of largely independent ministers, the new cabinet is backed by a coalition of traditional sectarian parties, including the Iran-backed political and militant group Hezbollah. That coalition constitutes a parliamentary majority, voted in during elections in May 2018.
The new government boasts a record number of female ministers (six women in a cabinet of 20) including the first female Deputy Prime Minister, and the Arab world’s first female Defence Minister.
In Diab’s inaugural speech, he hailed his new government as a “victory” for protesters. Protests erupted when the previous government announced a tax of $6 a month on Internet voice-call services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Months before the protests, Lebanon was suffering its worst economic crisis since the civil war, with its debt-to-GDP ratio the third highest in the world.
Saad Hariri resigned as Prime Minister in October in response to the mass protests.