BEIRUT: Lebanese PM Hassan Diab has officially announced the resignation of his entire government following days of protests sparked by the catastrophic explosion which levelled parts of Beirut last week.
Earlier, Health Minister Hamad Hassan confirmed to reporters that the resignation would be imminent.
Addressing the nation on Monday evening, Diab said he was with the people calling for responsibility for the “crime.”
Diab said the explosion was the result of endemic corruption. He said the government ministers gave the job “their all” because they care about the country.
The resignation comes as demonstrators take to the streets of Beirut for the third night in a row demanding swift change and accountability for the blast which devastated vast swathes of the port city last Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab is due to address the nation and is expected to officially announce his resignation.
Hamad Hassan told reporters after a cabinet session on Monday that the country’s embattled government has already resigned.
Tensions have been boiling over in the country following a massive explosion that on Tuesday tore through the capital, Beirut, killing some 200 people and wounding 6,000 others.
Earlier on Monday, Justice Minister, Marie Claude Najem was the latest minister to announce her resignation while Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni arrived at the cabinet session with his resignation letter but held on to it until after the session.
Information Minster Manal Abdel Samad and Environment and Administrative Development Minister Damianos Kattar – Diab’s closest confidant in the cabinet – resigned on Sunday, citing the explosion and the government’s inability to reform.
Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti had announced his resignation a day before the explosion.
Lebanon’s constitution says that a cabinet is considered resigned if more two-thirds of its original members resign. The youth and sports, telecoms and displaced affairs ministers have said they will announce their resignations from Diab’s 20-minister cabinet if he does not formally announce it.
Tuesday’s explosion, which was caused by highly explosive ammonium nitrate that was stored at Beirut’s port for more than six years, has fuelled popular anger and upended politics in the crisis-hit country. It has led to angry, violent protests in which 728 people were wounded and one police officer killed on Saturday amid a heavy crackdown by security forces.