Lebanon’s Diab Left Alone in Defending his Government
The new government has passed its first test, after 63 out of 84 MPs present in parliament gave it their vote of confidence, despite Prime Minister Hassan Diab being named by 69 parliamentarians for the premiership.
Only a few deputies publicly defended the cabinet during Tuesday’s vote of confidence session. But the position of Hezbollah was remarkable.
“This government does not resemble us; we accepted it to facilitate its formation,” MP Mohammed Raad, the head of Hezbollah’s Loyalty to the Resistance bloc, announced.
Raad’s position raised more question marks about the underlying reasons behind such as statement. Some observers said that he wanted to send a message to local and foreign parties that the government was not that of Hezbollah.
Parliamentary sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the deputy was in fact responding to criticism that the new government was picked by Hezbollah.
They added that Diab rushed to confirm Raad’s statements, by emphasizing that the cabinet ministers were independent.
The premier’s insistence on the independence of the government, according to the sources, was a message to the Arab world and the international community that accusations on the formation of a one-sided cabinet were baseless. However, Diab received solely the votes of lawmakers from Hezbollah's bloc or its allies, mainly the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM).
The prime minister - as parliamentary sources said - will seek to present to most Arab countries and the international community a better image of his new government, after relations with some of them had turned sour under former Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
But the sources added that it would be difficult for Diab to gain the international community's trust.