Lebanon: With a new government against the crisis

Status: 09/10/2021 2:32 p.m.

13 months after the resignation of the government, Lebanon has a new leadership: difficult tasks await the future Prime Minister Mikati and his cabinet. The country is in the middle of the worst economic crisis in its history.

More than a year after the devastating explosion in the port of Beirut, Lebanon has a new government: the agreement was announced after a meeting between Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati and President Michel Aoun in the presidential palace in Baabde.

Najib Mikati, Saudi-Lebanese billionaire and two-time former prime minister, was appointed the third candidate to form a government after two politicians, including former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, failed. Rivalries between the leading political forces in Lebanon had so far prevented the formation of a new cabinet.

Lebanon in the worst crisis in its history

A difficult task awaits Mikati and the rest of the cabinet: as a result of the explosion and the following 13 months without a government, the country is currently in the worst crisis in its history.

On August 4, 2020, hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate were detonated in a warehouse in the port of Beirut. The explosion razed entire districts of the Lebanese capital to the ground, killing more than 200 people.

As a result, the government of the Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned. The aftermath of the explosion and the political chaos exacerbated the economic crisis that had raged since 2019 and made it one of the worst in the world since 1850.

Gasoline and medical shortages

The country is struggling with gasoline and drug shortages, galloping inflation and high unemployment, among other things. According to the UN, 78 percent of the population live below the poverty line. The Lebanese lira has lost more than 90 percent of its value. The bankrupt state can no longer finance numerous subsidies and imports.

The international community has pledged hundreds of millions of euros in support – on the condition that Lebanon gets a government that is able to implement necessary reforms.

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