The Rise of the Technocrats: Lebanon’s Protest Movement Meets Institutional Power

On December 19, 2019, a relatively unknown figure in Lebanon stepped to the podium at the Presidential Palace just outside Beirut, his bookish and stoic demeanor contrasting with the cheery Christmas decorations adorning the hall from which he was about to make his speech. To the millions of Lebanese watching Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab begin his remarks in a seldom-employed academic Arabic, however, the absurdity of the scene did not eclipse their astonishment with the preceding months that gave to its rise. Since the start of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975, the cardinal rule of Lebanese politics was that there were no unknowns. For decades, confessional power-sharing dictate

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