Beirut explosion: Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab to propose early elections

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Hundreds of angry protesters took to the streets on Thursday, storming the foreign, economy and environment ministries

The National

Aug 8, 2020

August 8, 2020

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Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab is to propose the holding of early parliamentary elections to government on Monday in an attempt to address the country's political crisis, exacerbated by Tuesday's huge explosion in Beirut.

He spoke as hundreds of protesters took to the streets, storming the foreign, economy and environment ministries as anger exploded over the deadly blast, which killed at least 158, made hundreds of thousands homeless and shocked the world.

In a short address on Thursday evening that many Lebanese TV stations chose not to broadcast, Mr Diab said he will introduce a draft bill proposing early elections

"I am with the Lebanese people in wanting change," he said.

"We can't exit the country's structural crisis without holding early parliamentary elections."

He indicated he will stay in office for two months while the reforms are implimented, saying "I want change like the Lebanese, too".

On rumours that the country had rejected aid, He said "this is not true. We need all the aid we can get".

Mr Diab also called on the country's political parties to put their disagreements aside and work together, as the country faced unprecedented crises on multiple fronts.

Holding early parliamentary elections was one of the chief demands of the nationwide protests back in October, which called for the removal of the political class.

Demonstrators take part in a protest following Tuesday's blast in Beirut, Lebanon. Reuters

Lebanese people gather around a fist-shaped banner reading 'Revolution' as people gathered to protest against the political leaders and to call for those responsible over the explosion to be held accountable. EPA

The Lebanese Health Ministry said at least 158 people were killed, and more than 5,000 injured, in the Beirut blast that devastated the port area. EPA

Lebanese people carry the national flag as they drive past the blast site four days after a monster explosion. AFP

An anti-government protester carries a Lebanese flag as he protects himself behind an iron barrel during a protest outside of the Lebanese Parliament. EPA

Riot police fire tear gas against anti-government protesters during a protest outside of the Lebanese Parliament. EPA

Demonstrators run to take cover from tear gas fired by police. Reuters

An anti-government protester uses a tennis racket to return a tear gas canister at riot police. EPA

A demonstrator holds a Lebanese flag as another hurls stones during. Reuters

People gather as a truck is seen on fire during the protest in Martyr's Square. Reuters

Anti-government protesters clash with Lebanese riot police during a protest outsid Lebanese Parliament. EPA

Protesters shout slogans next to banners reading in Arabic (left) 'Beirut capital of revolution' and (right) 'Beirut capital without weapons' as they enter the foreign ministry headquarters during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon. EPA

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Updated: August 9, 2020 10:58 AM

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