Lebanese Prime Minister al-Hariri Resigns; Trying to Assess Impact
Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri submitted his resignation on Tuesday sending waves of satisfaction to thousands of his countrymen and women who have been demonstrating in the streets for nearly two weeks. Yet, while protesters try to assess the impact their first tangible “success” in removing the elite from government and doing away with the sectarian system, most veteran observers see Hariri as the most likely candidate to return to his post atop a government comprised of technocrats. That, too, is far from certain as is the question of whether a couple of independents will be seated in the cabinet and the “same-old, same-old” will continue, or whether a truly independent government can take over the reins of power and be sufficiently independent to lead the nation out of its severe economic woes. The street demonstrations began when in an effort to find desperately-needed revenue the government decided to tax free Internet such as WhatsApp. Now, 13 days into often violent protests, the prime minister has fallen but the financial crisis remains. The obvious “next-step” will be to assemble successor officials capable of addressing the fiscal mess.