Rear View – Lebanon in review (4 April 2021)
29 March: The Kataeb Party changes its name
The Interior Ministry agreed to the change of the Kataeb Party’s name, after their request, to: “the Lebanese Kataeb Party, the Lebanese Social Democratic Party.”
The change involves the translation of the party’s name into French and English with the permanent elimination of the word “Phalanges” and its replacement with “Kataeb”. “Phalanges” was a term used by fascist organisations in Europe, which influenced the party at its founding.
29 March: $200 Million to delay darkness
On Monday 29th March, parliament approved a $200 million advance to the EDL. Although, there were many objections by representatives and parliamentary blocs who were arguing that the advance of the Central Bank’s reserves, or in other words from depositors’ money, would only postpone the crisis instead of resolving it.
The Parliament is now responsible for securing electricity, while the Energy Minister could only invite the Lebanese people to imagine their lives without electricity.
29 March: The combat against COVID-19
The Health Ministry failed to consult with the committee of the national COVID-19 vaccination on the process of selecting vaccination centers. Causing Abdul Rahman Bizri, head of the national COVID-19 vaccination committee, to boycott the campaign to distribute AstraZeneca vaccines.
In a statement, Bizri also raised an objection to Prime Minister Hasan Diab who has created a new committee to “follow up on vaccine implementation,” led by Dr. Petra Khoury, Diab’s advisor for health affairs.
30 March: 200 expatriate students expelled because of banks
Parents of expatriate students revealed that “foreign universities expelled around 200 students so far due to their inability to settle their tuition fees in dollars,” during a protest facing the Central Bank and Hamra Street’s banks on Tuesday.
They demanded the immediate implementation of the Student Dollar Law and blocked the main street with burning garbage bins, among heavy security deployment.
2 April: Beirut Port Reconstruction
On Wednesday 7t April, Germany will present a proposal to reconstruct the port of Beirut for a sum €2-3 billion, as part of efforts meant “to entice the country’s politicians to form a government capable of warding off financial collapse,” according to a Reuters report published on Thursday 1st of March.
Forming a government requires a bait of this magnitude, as Germany and France have stipulated that they “want first to see a government in place committed to implementing reforms,” before launching the program, which the European Investment Bank has agreed to support.
This step comes 8 months after the port explosion, and more than 5 months since Saad Hariri was appointed to form a government, a process now in deadlock due to a conflict over formation powers.
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