With every hour that passes, it becomes more plausible that the current Lebanese Cabinet is witnessing its last few days—even hours. So, in case Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigns as he is expected to do soon, what’s next for Lebanon?
Lebanon’s current political atmosphere is quite similar to that which prevailed in October 2019.
Only, today, a much more powerful variable is putting more serious pressure on the government than are the protests, which were the primary reason behind former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation last year.
This variable is the deadly Beirut explosion that has caused many officials to break their involvement in government that is now even more detested by the Lebanese people than before the national tragedy of August 4th.
As this article forms, the Council of Ministers is convened in what the media is referring to as a symbolic “formal meeting” that is only there to precede PM Diab’s announcement of resignation.
If this proves true and Diab does resign on Monday, Lebanon’s political stage will replay the scenario that followed the end of Hariri’s government in October.
The search for a new prime minister to form a fresh government will ensue after the current government becomes a caretaker one, as per constitutional procedures.
This means that the current ministers will take on limited and mostly administrative roles until a new government is formed and becomes ready to take the helm.
It’s worth noting that, judging by similar past occurrences in Lebanon, the caretaker government may remain in charge for several months if an agreement regarding the new candidate for prime minister is not reached easily.
Whether this happens depends on a plethora of factors, including the street’s pressure, the interests of which are known to – so far – contradict with those of the ruling class.
When eventually formed, the cabinet will then have to earn the Parliament’s vote of confidence before it can be recognized as the current government’s official successor.
Whatever developments surface during the caretaker phase will be pivotal for determining who will represent the Lebanese authority next.
If the 2019 government resignation scenario is to be taken as a reference, the struggle between the authority and the street will most likely intensify as the latter takes the opportunity to push for the demands that have been echoing for nearly a year.
With all that said, of course, it’s not possible to say with certainty that Hassan Diab’s government will dissolve this week, if not this very day.
Nonetheless, if ministers continue to resign left and right as they have been since the Beirut explosion, and considering the constitutional implications of that, then the Prime Minister cannot evade an inevitable resignation, even if he decides not to initiate it himself.