Abdel Samad said in her resignation letter that change remained “elusive” and she regrets failing to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

Lebanon Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad resigned on Sunday, August 9, 2020, citing government's failure to carry out reforms and the catastrophic explosion that rocked Beirut.
Lebanon Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad resigned on Sunday, August 9, 2020, citing government's failure to carry out reforms and the catastrophic explosion that rocked Beirut. (Dalati and Nohra via AFP)

Lebanon's information minister Manal Abdel Samad resign from her post in the first government resignation since a deadly port blast in capital Beirut.

Her resignation on Sunday comes as public anger is mounting against the ruling elite, blamed for the chronic mismanagement and corruption that is believed to be behind the explosion in a Beirut Port warehouse. 

Over 2,500 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate was stored in the waterfront hangar without any safety protocol, and a blast sent a shockwave that killed at least 160 people, wounded nearly 6,000 and defaced the coastline of Beirut by destroying hundreds of buildings.

Failing Lebanese people

Abdel Samad said in her resignation letter that change remained “elusive” and she regrets failing to fulfill the aspirations of the Lebanese people.

"After the enormous Beirut catastrophe, I announce my resignation from government," she said in a statement carried by local media, apologising to the Lebanese public for failing them.

Five of the parliament's 128 members have also announced their resignation since Saturday, including three legislators of the Christian Kataeb party, a member of the Socialist Progressive Party and an independent.

Church head calls resignation

The head of Lebanon's Maronite church meanwhile called on the entire government to step down over the August 4 explosion, a blast widely seen as shocking proof of the rot at the core of the state apparatus .

Lebanese protesters enraged by the blast vowed to rally again after a night of street clashes in which they stormed several ministries.

Maronite patriarch Beshara Rai joined the chorus of people pressing Prime Minister Hassan Diab's cabinet to step down over a blast he said could be "described as a crime against humanity."

"It is not enough for a lawmaker to resign here or a minister to resign there," Rai said in a Sunday sermon.

"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."

Rai echoed calls by Diab for early parliamentary polls, a long-standing demand of a protest movement that began in October, demanding the removal of a policial class deemed inept and corrupt.

He also joined world leaders, international organisations and the angry Lebanese public by pressing for an international probe into an explosion authorities say was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate had languished for years.

President Michel Aoun rejected calls for an international investigation on Friday, which he said would "dilute the truth."

At least six lawmakers have quit since the explosion.

Under increased pressure from the street and foreign partners exasperated by the leadership's inability to enact reforms, Diab's government is fraying at the edges. 

READ MORE: Lebanese president rejects international probe into Beirut blast

Source: TRTWorld and agencies