Lebanon's Anti-Syria Opposition Topples Karami's Government
Beirut, February 28, 2005
Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned Monday as his government was crucified in parliament over the debacle of ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination.
"I announce the resignation of the government over which I had the honor of presiding so that it does not pose an obstacle" to the probe into the killing, an emotional Karami told parliament.
The resignation was a resounding blow for Syria and President Emile Lahoud's regime.
Karami made the brief resignation announcement as parliament resumed a stormy debate of the assassination after a morning session.
Tens of thousands of opposition activists maintaining a non-stop vigil at Hariri's graveside at the downtown Martyrs square burst in thunderous chants of "Syria out now" when they heard the resignation announcement from parliament a bloc away.
The Syrian government, which was behind the installment of karami in power last September seems to have dropped him like a hot potato, saying the resignation was a purely domestic affair in Lebanon.
Druze leader Walid Jumblat hailed the government's resignation.
"The people have been victorious but we should now form an impartial government to supervise the elections" due by the end of May, he said.
But Jumblat also called for the anti-Damascus camp to avoid "chauvinist slogans against Syria, with whom we are determined to have healthy relations."