Lebanon president Aoun names former minister Diab next PM

AP , Thursday 19 Dec 2019

Hassan Diab
This picture taken on October 3, 2012, shows then-Education Minister Hassan Diab attending a conference in the Lebanese capital Beirut. (AFP)

Lebanon's president Thursday asked a university professor and a Hezbollah-backed former minister Hassan Diab to form a new government, breaking a weeks-long impasse.

Michel Aoun named Diab as prime minister after a day of consultations with lawmakers in which he gained a simple majority of the 128-member parliament.

Sixty-nine lawmakers, including the parliamentary bloc of the Shiite Hezbollah and Amal movements as well as lawmakers affiliated with President Michel Aoun gave him their votes.

Diab, 60, faces the daunting task of forming a government to tackle the country's worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war. He also failed to get the support of the country's major Sunni leaders, including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, which will make it difficult for him to form a new government.

Diab arrived at Baabda palace later Thursday to meet with Aoun who summoned him for the appointment.

It was not immediately clear whether the appointment would satisfy people in the streets who have been protesting for over two months, calling for a government made up of specialists.

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