Lebanon’s Government Set to Resign, Minister Announces, After Beirut Blast

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Lebanon’s cabinet resigned on Monday, opening up a new political void as the country struggles with a crippling economic crisis and reels from an enormous explosion last week that ravaged swaths of the capital.

In a televised address, Prime Prime Minister Hassan Diab, in office since January, said he and his cabinet ministers were standing down amid widespread anger over the death and destruction caused by the blast.

The fall of Mr. Diab’s government reflected how deeply last week’s explosion — which killed more than 150 people, wounded 6,000 and rendered hundreds of thousands homeless — has rattled the small Mediterranean nation. Lebanon was already struggling with deep economic and political crises before the blast caused billions of dollars in damage to Beirut.

In recent months, Beirut has been shaken by violent protests, the local currency has lost much of its value, and unemployment and inflation rates have soared. Those problems will hamper Lebanon’s ability to recover from the blast, and now it is unclear which leader will take charge of that process, including negotiating aid packages with potential donors and putting in place long-delayed reforms.

ImageHamad Hassan, Lebanon’s health minister, right, and Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Monday during a cabinet meeting in Beirut. 
Credit…Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

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