Lebanon News

Diab's govt wins vote of confidence from Parliament

Prime Minister Hassan Diab is seen prior to speaking at the Parliament in Beirut, Feb. 11, 2020. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government Tuesday won a vote of confidence from Parliament, after 84 MPs cast their ballot.

Out of the 84 lawmakers, 63 voted for, 20 against and 1 MP abstained from voting.

Parliament reconvened Tuesday night for the evening session after a number of MPs spoke during the two-part session.

Speaker Nabih Berri had adjourned the morning session at 4 p.m. before convening again at 5 p.m. MPs were given a one hour break as Berri was keen to end the vote of confidence session Tuesday, even though the vote was originally set to take place in a two-day session that would continue Wednesday.

Berri opened the morning session almost an hour later than the official scheduled time of 11 a.m.

There were fears that the session would not be held as 65 MPs are required to be present in the General Assembly in order to secure quorum.

By 11:15 a.m. lawmakers from the Future bloc were not yet in attendance despite the bloc's decision Monday to attend and deny Diab's government a vote of confidence. Berri said at the opening of the session that he had been in contact with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who said the Future bloc would attend.

During the session Berri confirmed that quorum was met with 67 MPs. By the time of voting there were 84 MPs present.

The vote of confidence session was held against a backdrop of protests against Diab's government and against the ruling class in general. Clashes broke out throughout the morning between protesters and security forces in different locations around the Beirut Central District.

When the General Assembly convened this morning, Diab took the podium, reading out his government's policy statement, based on which, MPs will give or deny their vote of confidence.

“Anyone who thinks that they will survive an economic collapse is wrong,” Diab told the MPs as the policy statement was displayed to the attendees through a power point presentation. He also warned MPs against thinking any of them were immune to protesters’ anger.

“Let us admit that regaining trust can be achieved through actions. It is a long path and requires us to speak honestly with the people.”

The newly appointed premier said that the policy statement was based on emergency plans that should be implemented quickly given the country's current situation.

Diab informed the MPs about his government's road map that would include a series of administrative reforms in different sectors including the judiciary and moving toward administrative digitization.

He also said that the Cabinet would work on developments in the environment, culture and education sector.

"The government will work to initiate a mechanism that will protect depositors," he said.

Diab also touched on the CEDRE conference that was held in Paris in 2018, noting that his government was committed to the reforms made at the conference.

As for Lebanon's regional position, Diab said that Lebanon should protect itself from regional turmoil, while "adopting an independent foreign policy that is based on Lebanon's higher interests."

"The government will definitely work on strengthening relations with brotherly countries as well as underscoring its partnership with the European Union," Diab said.

He added that the government will commit to upholding the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701.

As for the ongoing struggle with Israel, Diab underscored the right of Lebanese people to continue resistance against Israel, and asserted his commitment to liberating Lebanese territories occupied by Israel.

 

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