All The Lebanese Politicians Who Have Resigned Since Explosion

Manal Abdel-Samad, Lebanon's information minister, has become the latest politician to resign after an explosion in the capital Beirut killed over 150 people, injured thousands, and left an estimated 300,000 homeless.

Abdel-Samad is the first government minister to quit since the huge blast on Tuesday at Beirut's port. "After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government," she said in a statement on Sunday according to the AFP news agency.

Business tycoon and member of parliament (MP) Neemat Frem resigned after Abdel-Samad, according to Lebanon'sLBCI outlet. He said he would suspend his parliamentary activities "until a session is called to shorten the parliament's mandate and call for early parliamentary elections."

Citing local media, the Associated Press reported another minister, as well as a close advisor to Prime Minister Hassan Diab, were also due to step down. Diab reportedly held a meeting on resignations with his Cabinet on Sunday, but no information emerged.

Initial evidence suggests the explosion was a preventable industrial accident. It is believed 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, incorrectly stored in a warehouse for six years, was ignited by fireworks. The explosion was so powerful it was comparable to a 3.3 magnitude earthquake, and resulting soundwaves were heard 160 miles away in the Mediterranean country of Cyprus.

On Sunday, the French ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher said his country would take part in the investigation into the blast. He tweeted 46 police officers were providing technical support to a judicial investigation. This would "guarantee of impartiality" and speed up the process, he said.

The disaster came amid an already tense climate in a country suffering economic collapse, with half its population living in poverty. Its situation has been blamed on mismanagement and corruption by a political elite.

In her resignation letter, Abdel-Samad said change in the country had stayed "elusive," and said she regretted failing to fulfill the aspirations of the country's people, the AP reported.

Abdel-Samad wrote: "Given the magnitude of the catastrophe caused by the Beirut earthquake that shook the nation and hurt our hearts and minds, and in respect for the martyrs, and the pains of the wounded, missing and displaced, and in response to the public will for change, I resign from the government."

Her decision comes after all three Kataeb Party Kataeb Party MPs and independent Paula Yacoubian announced their resignations on Saturday, the Andalou Agency reported. Nizar Najarian, the secretary general of the Kataeb Party died in the explosion.

Former MP Nadeem Gemayel said after his resignation during Najarian's funeral procession: "We and some other honorable MPs will strip the [political] elite of their cover."

He said the explosion will "usher in the birth of a new Lebanon."

On Wednesday, Lebanese MP Marwan Hamadeh of the Progression Socialist Party, resigned from parliament during a live interview with the Al Arabiya news channel. Hamadeh said he was "no longer honored to be a member of institutions that watch the country's devastation with a total bias that it destroyed and impoverished in front of the world, under an ineffective presidency, a government that is a monster that is only a mix of opposition and elite parties."

A day later, Tracey Shamoun, Lebanon's ambassador to Jordan, also resigned, The National reported.

Protests erupted in Beirut in the wake of the tragedy, as people called for the government to resign. Some erected a mock gallows in the city's famous Martyrs' Square to string up effigies of leaders including President Michel Aoun, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, the leader of Lebanon's Maronite Church, added his voice to those calling for Lebanon's cabinet to resign on Sunday, AFP reported.

During a sermon on Sunday, al-Rahi said the explosion could be "described as a crime against humanity."

He said: "It is not enough for a lawmaker to resign here, or a minister to resign there. It is necessary, out of sensitivity to the feelings of the Lebanese and the immense responsibility required, for the entire government to resign, because it is incapable of moving the country forward."

Dr. Hilal Khashan, a professor of political science and public administration at the American University of Beirut, told Newsweek on Saturday the "explosion will restart a new wave of the uprising, and I suspect that it will turn violent."

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A man navigates the scene of an explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut on August 4, 2020. STR/AFP via Getty Images