Clashes in Beirut based on the economic crisis and political impasse in Lebanon
Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
Several months ago the president of Lebanon, Michel Aoun, expressed the need to listen to protesters and the silent masses. This call by the president was based on the visible disillusionment of ordinary Lebanese citizens against political cronyism and harsh economic conditions. However, it appears that little is happening, thus protesters have once more disrupted parts of Beirut.
Protesters site enormous political corruption and economic mismanagement that is leading to a high debt ratio. Hence, Lebanese citizens demand a new technocratic government that is led by independents who are outside the political mainstream parties.
In October, last year, Aoun uttered, “Ministers should be selected based on their qualifications and experience, not their political loyalties.”
The Times of Israel reports, “Panic and anger have gripped the public as their local currency, pegged to the dollar for more than two decades, plummeted. The Lebanese pound lost more than 60% of its value in recent weeks on the black market. The economy has seen no growth and foreign inflows dried up in the already heavily indebted country that relies on imports for most of its basic goods.”
France 24 stipulates, “The World Bank has warned that the poverty rate in Lebanon could rise from a third to half of the population if the political crisis is not solved quickly.”
Political cronyism and sectarianism are part and parcel of Lebanon in recent decades. At the same time, this small nation in terms of land and population is burdened by events in Israel and Syria respectively. This applies to a sizeable refugee problem and the ills of geopolitical intrigues. Therefore, the nation of Lebanon is a victim of outside events that have restricted economic and political progress – along with the entangled sectarian angle and political cronyism.
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