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Lebanon Prime Minister Hariri to address nation amid resignation reports

Hariri was embroiled in high-profile corruption scandals prior to the protests [AFP]

Date of publication: 29 October, 2019

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Senior Lebanese officials say Saad Hariri's government will resign after almost two weeks of mass protests across the country.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri will address the country on Tuesday afternoon, amid rumours he will resign from office along with his government following a week-long protest.

Hariri has been among the main targets of mass protests which have put Lebanon on lockdown for almost two weeks and issued demands for radical political and economic overhaul.

A senior political official said Hariri will "most probably" announce his government's resignation, according to a Reuters report earlier on Tuesday, which was confirmed by a second official.

Prime Minister Hariri issued a reform bill last week in an attempt to quell the protests, but the proposals - which include cutting minister salaries and a privatisation drive - have failed to defuse popular anger and rallies have continued to swell.

One of the main chants heard at the protests has been "all of them means all of them", calling for the resignation of the entire political class without exception.

Lebanon's central bank chief on Monday said the country was days away from economic collapse as banks remained shut and a shortage of dollars - a crucial source of hard currency amid the volatile financial climate - worsened.

Since the outbreak of the rallies, protesters have demanded the resignation of the whole government amid accusations of rampant corruption among the political elite facilitated by a sectarian power-sharing agreement.

Hariri himself was embroiled in a financial scandal earlier this month after court documents revealed he "gifted" more than $16 million to a 20-year-old South African bikini model he met on holiday in the Seychelles.

Many Lebanese reacted with outrage at the allegations, especially in light of the fact that many employees of Hariri's business empire had gone unpaid for months because of lack of funds.

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