Politics, Middle East

PROFILE - Hassan Diab Lebanon's new premier

Prolific academic Diab served in past governments, denies affiliation with any political group, including Hezbollah

Raya Shartouni   | 20.12.2019
PROFILE - Hassan Diab Lebanon's new premier


After some delay, parliamentary consultations in Lebanon have succeeded in naming a new prime minister -- former Education Minister Hassan Diab -- to form a new government.

A professor of communications engineering, Diab obtained 69 votes out of 128 in Thursday's parliamentary consultations while diplomat Nawaf Salam won 13 votes, and Halima Qaqour earned one vote.

Shortly after being named premier, Diab denied any affiliation with any group, including Hezbollah.

Despite this, his assignment was not a surprise, with local reports having previously indicated that Diab would be chosen to succeed Saad Hariri who resigned on Oct. 29 in the face of popular anti-government protests.

Academic-led government

Born in Beirut on Jan. 6, 1959, Diab holds a master's degree and PhD in computer systems engineering.

He joined the American University of Beirut in 1985 as a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Diab has more than 120 publications in international scientific journals and conferences.

He was appointed in October 2006 as Vice President for Regional Foreign Programs at the American University of Beirut.

Diab also served as Education Minister from 2005 to 2011 in the government led by former Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Lebanon is currently suffering high unemployment, slow growth and one of the highest debt ratios in the world, with a debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Ministry of Finance. 

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat

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