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Lebanon crisis

Lebanon’s ongoing crisis will lead to a political, economic collapse: Expert

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Lebanon is on the verge of political and economic collapse as the country has been left adrift following months of deadlock in forming a new government, said an expert recently.

The outgoing government of Premier Hassan Diab resigned in the wake of an August 4 explosion at Beirut’s port that killed more than 200 people and ravaged swaths of the capital.

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Last October, Lebanese President Aoun appointed Saad Hariri, the former Prime Minister of Lebanon, as the new prime minister of the government and authorized him to form a cabinet. However, attempts to form a cabinet have not made any progress for several months.

As the country has suffered multiple crises over the past year with fuel and medicine shortages being the most critical at present, the caretaker government is working with President Michel Aoun and has promised a quick solution.

A general view shows the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, August 10, 2020. (Reuters)
A general view shows the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon, August 10, 2020. (Reuters)

However, a local expert said that unless a new government is formed, the domestic situation can hardly turn around for a long period of time.

“Unfortunately, the delay in the formation of a new government is a crisis that affects the political, economic and every other field. Every single day of delay for a new cabinet lineup leads directly or indirectly to the decline of people’s living standards. [The political crisis] is dragging down the country in every aspect,” said Nader Hijaz.

Hijaz warned that the country will face dire consequences if a legal government can’t be formed until 2022 when a new round of parliamentary and presidential elections should be organized.

“The greater concern now is that we are already in the run-up to the next [2022] general election, and the parliamentary and presidential elections are coming soon. The future of the nation lies on the elections, but the public are worried that the existing constitutional system is incapable of forming a government [that can organize the elections],” he said.

He also stressed that Lebanon needs a competent government right now to save it from economic collapse, as if the cabinet is formed, the new government can work on domestic reform and negotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restart the economy, allowing foreign currency to come in and shore up the falling bank.

Lebanon is suffering unprecedented political, economic and financial crises that have led to poverty, unemployment, collapse of the national currency, its failure to repay sovereign debts and an accelerating decline in foreign exchange reserves since October 2019.

A volunteer gives out food handouts to people in need at the Lebanese Grassroots organisation in Beirut's Mar Mikhael district, which was hard hit by last year's port explosion, on March 24, 2021. (File photo: AFP)
A volunteer gives out food handouts to people in need at the Lebanese Grassroots organisation in Beirut's Mar Mikhael district, which was hard hit by last year's port explosion, on March 24, 2021. (File photo: AFP)

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