The resignation of a key Christian party rocked Lebanon’s fragile coalition government as the ongoing protests unleashed long-simmering anger at a ruling class that has divvied up power among themselves and amassed wealth for decades but has done little to fix a crumbling economy and dilapidated infrastructure.
Anti-government protests that have swept the country since last Thursday have pulled together all segments of Lebanese society in an unusually unified call for the downfall of political elite that protesters blame for plunging the economy into crisis.
The protests are Lebanon’s largest in five years, spreading beyond Beirut to its main cities and towns. The unrest sparked by a proposed $0.20 tax on calls via messaging apps such as WhatsApp. The government proposed new taxes as part of stringent austerity measures amid a growing economic crisis.
Samir Geagea, head of the Christian Lebanese Forces, a key political party in the country, announced in a televised speech that he asked his ministers to resign and said he believes that the current 30-member national unity government is unable to carry out the necessary economic reforms.
“We have found that most components of the government want patching and painkillers, and have no intention of serious and radical reforms” for the economic crisis prevailing in the country, Geagea said.
He stressed the current situation in the country requires “exceptional and immediate steps” such as the resignation of his ministers.
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