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Aoun Taps Professor to Form Lebanon’s Next Gov’t

Lebanese President Michel Aoun has chosen Hassan Diab, a university professor and former education minister, to set up and lead a new governing coalition as anti-government protests continue. Diab, who teaches at the American University of Beirut, has the backing of the country’s powerful Shi’ite parties but not parties from his own Sunni community. According to the law, Lebanon’s prime minister must be a Sunni Muslim. His appointment was greeted with skepticism among protesters, most of whom are demanding an end to the sectarian system and the advent of leadership by technocrats who can reverse the country’s many ills, whether choking foreign debt or piles of trash and a crumbling health system. “We are facing a national crisis that doesn’t allow for the luxury of personal and political battles, but requires national unity,” Diab said in his first public address following the appointment. “All our efforts must focus on stopping the collapse and restoring confidence,” he added.