June 26, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Lebanon | General doubt after the formation of the new government

Lebanon |  General doubt after the formation of the new government

(Beirut) Doubts and criticism are rife in Lebanon on Saturday, the day after the formation of a 13-month long-awaited government, which will have a huge task of resolving a country mired in unprecedented economic and social crisis.

Bachir El Khouri
France Media Agency

The country gave birth on Friday to a government led by Najib Mikati, one of the country’s richest men and already twice prime minister.

The new team, formed with 24 ministers and a training ground for any international aid, was created after endless political negotiations between the parties in power, largely discredited by the population.

Al-Akbar, an Arabic-language daily close to the Shia Hezbollah party, was headlined “a government of almost impossible faith.”

The consensus fears expressed in the media, on social networks and by some experts are particularly related to the new government’s ability to turn around the economy like never before in terms of reforms and to maneuver in its room.

And this group, chosen by “barons” from the various factions that have ruled the country for decades, is the source of wondering what kind of change it can really bring and the collapse of its nutritional policies and suspicions of corruption. Country.

The same “cooks”

“Government […] Nitrate, political infertility and consensus corruption, ”a user lamented on Facebook, referring to the massive explosion at the Beirut port in August 2020 over the careless storage of enormous nitrate from ammonium.

The blast, which killed more than 200 people, injured thousands and devastated the entire capital, was largely due to the negligence of the ruling class.

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A few days later, the Hassan Diab-led government resigned amid general protests.

“The government has set up the cooks. So can they offer a new meal? The real fear is that Modus Operandi will not be able to produce anything new, “researcher Sami Nader told AFP.

As underlined on the front page of the French-language daily L’Orient-Le Jour, government work is proving to be “serious.”

The unprecedented financial crisis facing the country since the summer of 2019 continues to worsen, with the World Bank claiming it was the worst in the world since the 1850s.

According to the UN, with strong inflation and massive reductions, 78% of the Lebanese population now lives below the poverty line.

With the free fall of the local currency, unprecedented banking sanctions, the gradual lifting of subsidies, shortages of fuel and medicines, the country has also been plunged into darkness for many months, with power cuts rising by more than 10 hours every night.

“Emergency Measures”

And endless queues stretch in front of gas stations.

If the government welcomes the arrival of some people like Rafiq Hariri, director of the government hospital in the Ministry of Health and Feroz Abiad, who led the fight against Kovid-19, doubt remains.

Maha Yahya, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, agreed to be part of the “relevant ministers” cabinet. But, she stressed, “On the whole, the government is not ready to face long-term challenges when there is no political consensus on how to get the country out of ruins.”

Among the previous challenges was the conclusion of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which negotiations have been suspended since July 2020.

For the international community, this is an important step in unlocking other significant assistance.

On Friday evening, several countries involved in the Lebanese file also expressed the need for immediate action, with Washington “calling for emergency action”. […] To respond to the crying needs and legitimate aspirations of the Lebanese people. ”