A file photo of Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab Photograph:( AFP )
Prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri was nominated in October but has failed to form a new cabinet so far due to political deadlock between him and President Michel Aoun
Lebanon's caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab threatened on Saturday to stop performing his duties to pressure politicians to form a new government.
"If seclusion helps with cabinet formation, then I am ready to resort to it, although it goes against my convictions for it disrupts the entire state and is detrimental to the Lebanese," Diab said in a speech.
Diab's cabinet resigned on the back of the August 4 Beirut port explosion that devastated swathes of the capital.
Prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri was nominated in October but has failed to form a new cabinet so far due to political deadlock between him and President Michel Aoun.
Meanwhile, protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and dumpsters across Lebanon recently after the currency tumbled to a new low in a financial meltdown that has fueled poverty.
"We can't bear it anymore...The dollar is going up and they don't care about us. They're still dividing up their gains," Rabih Khaled, who has been unemployed for months, said at one of the protests.
Crushed under a mountain of debt, Lebanon is grappling with a financial crisis that has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.
The collapse of the Lebanese pound, which fell to 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, has slashed about 85% of its value in a country relying heavily on imports.
The decline was the last straw for many who have seen prices of consumer goods such as diapers or cereals nearly triple since the crisis erupted.
"They're taking away our dignity. We came down today to say no we have dignity ... We are not insects. They are controlling the dollar for your interests to steal money from the people," 43-year-old Tawfik Marei said.
Protesters shut down a main highway out of the capital Beirut and the airport road. People took to the streets in other cities as well after the cost of scarce dollars hit 10,000 Lebanese pounds on the informal market.
(With inputs from agencies)