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Lebanese prime minister announces resignation amid protest chaos

Iranian Prime Minister Saad Hariri
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announced Tuesday that he will resign after two weeks of protests against the country's ruling elite, reports Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: Hariri's resignation was a key demand of the protest movement, which has upended the country.

  • Hariri's resignation also defies the Iranian-linked Shia group Hezbollah, "whose leader Hassan Nasrallah has twice said he was against such a step, citing the risk of a dangerous void," writes Al Jazeera.

The big picture: The protests and Hariri's resignation come almost 30 years after a deadly civil war ended in Lebanon.

  • The country often struggles to balance the power of its various religious and ethnic groups.
  • Hariri's resignation could leave a power vacuum as the groups may try to fight for the prime ministership.

Worth noting: Hariri has previously resigned in 2017 — only to later rescind his decision, per Reuters.

  • His resignation was announced from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during a period of time when he was outside of Lebanon for weeks, leading some to believe that his decision was influenced by the Saudis.

What's next: Protesters have been demanding new elections, but it's not yet clear when those would be held.

Go deeper: WhatsApp tax sparks calls for "fall of regime" in Lebanon