Christian party quits Lebanon gov’t amid mass protests


A Maronite Christian party has quit the Lebanese government amid mass protests against plans by the coalition cabinet for tax increases.

In a televised speech late Saturday, Samir Geagea, the head of the Lebanese Forces party, said his four ministers were resigning from the government.

“The current government is unable to take the necessary steps to save the country,” Geagea said.

He said his party has asked his ministers to resign, going on to call for drawing up a new government.

Thousands took to the streets on Saturday for the third day to protest government plans to impose fees on calls over Whatsapp and similar applications.

Lebanon has one of the world’s highest debt burdens at $86.2 billion in the first quarter of this year. This accompanied by high youth unemployment that has brought people on the edge.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has blamed his partners in government for obstructing economic reforms that could resolve the crisis and gave them a 72-hour deadline to stop blocking him, otherwise hinting he may resign.

On Saturday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said his group was against the government’s resignation.
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