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Thousands protest against new Lebanese PM

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Beirut, Jan 12 (IANS) Thousands of protesters took to the streets across Lebanon to demonstrate against the appointment of Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

The protesters on saturday said that they refused Diab’s appointment because it would empower corrupted political parties who were adopting the same old concept of arguing about shares in the government, which should not be the case amid the current pressing economic and financial challenges prevailing in the country, reports Xinhua news agency.

"This concept is no longer accepted in Lebanon. Officials are still allocating ministries among them while neglecting people’s demands," a civil society protester said.

Protesters, who have started nationwide movements, have been asking for the formation of a government with independent ministers who are capable of introducing structural reforms to save the country’s deteriorating economy.

However, Diab has so far failed to form a new cabinet due to interferences by the different political parties who are trying to protect their shares in the coming government.

Lebanon is in dire need for a new cabinet as it has been going through a very tough economic and financial crisis caused by failing policies of successive governments which resulted in a public debt of over $86 billion.

The country has also witnessed in the past few months a shortage in US dollars caused by economic slowdown and the drop in cash injections from Lebanese abroad, reducing the central bank’s foreign currency reserves and leading to a shortage in dollar for businesses and individuals.

This has prompted banks to put restrictions on withdrawals of depositors creating fear among depositors about the future of their deposits.