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Lebanese Cabinet Wins Confidence Vote as Protests Continue

Lebanon’s new cabinet on Tuesday won a parliamentary vote of confidence even as protesters clashed with security forces outside of the legislature. Demonstrations have rocked the country for months, with civilians demanding the formation of a non-sectarian-based, technocratic government that would focus foremost on staving off a possible total financial collapse. Despite fierce public backlash, which last October forced the resignation of prime minister Saad Hariri, many analysts consider the new cabinet an extension of the old guard – thus effectively entrenching what is widely viewed as a corrupt and elitist political system in Beirut – that also gives Hizbullah more overt power. In this respect, the Iranian terror proxy and its allies – namely, President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement and the Shi’ite Amal Movement – voted in favor of the new 20-member cabinet, whereas Hariri’s Sunni Future Movement voted no confidence. More than 350 people attempting to prevent the nine-hour debate – who went so far as to throw stones at the passing cars of lawmakers – were injured in the clashes near parliament.