Lebanon: a country in crisis and without a government for almost a year

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Radio-Canada

Since the explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020 which sparked immense public anger against the rulers, Lebanon has been without a government. The resigning government takes care of current affairs while waiting for the formation of a new government. But nine months after being appointed Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri has yet to form his government, as the people struggle through a violent economic crisis.

Saad Hariri is expected to announce his government this week, according to reports in the press, but he is also likely to give up doing so, as the differences between Lebanese parties run deep over the composition of the government.

Part of the political class, including Prime Minister Hariri, advocates a purely technocratic government to deal with the crisis, while another part, including President Michel Aoun and Hezbollah, believes that a representative political government will be needed. of the reality of the country.

Pending the formation of the government, Lebanese President Michel Aoun told European Union officials on Monday that parliamentary elections will go ahead as planned in the spring of next year. An announcement that could imply that the country will be ruled by a new government by the time of the election.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers agreed to sanction Lebanese leaders those responsible for the blocking from the country.

The head of French diplomacy Jean-Yves Le Drian explained that it will be a tool of pressure on the Lebanese authorities so that they advance in the composition of the government.

However, European diplomats did not give details of the leaders to be sanctioned or the criteria they set for sanctioning those politicians.

At the same time, the French and American ambassadors in Lebanon visited last week in Saudi Arabia, a regional heavyweight, to ask the kingdom to put pressure on the Lebanese leaders.

This episode illustrates the political complexity of Lebanon, which stands at the crossroads of international influences.

A violent crisis

Meanwhile, the population is hit by an economic crisis described by the World Bank as one of the worst in the world since 1850.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value in a few weeks against the dollar. While one dollar was equivalent to 1,500 lire, it will now take 20,000 lire to acquire one US dollar.

This vertiginous degradation of the local currency caused an untenable inflation for the population. According to the United Nations, more than half of the 7 million Lebanese live below the poverty line.

The fall of the lire has also resulted in a huge shortage of gasoline that affects not only motorists and public transport, but also the electricity supply of citizens.

With power plants running on gasoline, the power supply is severely rationed.

In Beirut, the capital, people live in the dark at night. Even in the afternoon, the electricity is cut for 2 or 3 hours.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, an oxygen manufacturing plant was forced to shut down production due to fuel shortages.

Port explosion, accelerator of the crisis

The explosion in the port of Beirut on August 4, 2020, which left 200 dead, more than 6,500 injured and destroyed entire neighborhoods, triggered a wave of protest from the population denouncing the country's political class.

Almost a year after the tragedy, no one responsible has yet been questioned. It was only last week that the investigating judge summoned General Security Director Abbas Ibrahim for a hearing. However, Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmi rejected the judge's request.

This angered the families of the victims, who protested outside the minister's home, joined by dozens of demonstrators.

Read also :

  • Lebanese government falls, but the streets are not satisfied
  • Explosion at the port of Beirut: the Lebanese prime minister indicted
  • In Lebanon, a system on the verge of rupture
With information from TOP NEWS TODAY, The world, Al Akhbar, and Al Jazeera


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