Lebanon Daily News Brief 03/04/2022

Friday, March 4, 2022


Election Monitors: May Parliamentary Elections Ripe for Corruption and Clientelism
The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections said to L’Orient Today that, “Two and a half months before its parliamentary elections, scheduled for May 15, Lebanon has not yet taken necessary measures to ensure a clean election.” [L’Orient Today]

Minister of Interior: Megacenters Impossible For May Polls
According to Naharnet, “The Interior Ministry has confirmed in a study requested by Prime Minister Najib Miqati that it will be impossible to use voting megacenters in the May 15 parliamentary elections, citing legal, logistic and financial difficulties. Miqati had requested the study following a letter from President Michel Aoun, who has described the megacenters plan as necessary.” [Naharnet]

Amos Hochstein Sends Proposal To Three Presidents on Maritime Border 
According to several reports, Amos Hochstein, the US State Department’s Senior Advisor for Energy Security and the lead U.S. mediator in the Lebanon-Israel sea border talks, has sent a written proposal via US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea to President Michel Aoun, Speaker Nabih Berri and Prime Minister Najib Miqati. “The letter includes a written demonstration of the proposal that Hochstein had made verbally regarding the maritime demarcation of the southern border.” [Naharnet]



Lebanon In The Middle Of The Russia And Ukraine Conflict
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “As Amin Salam, the Minister of Economy and Trade indicated, ‘The war in Ukraine has forced the Lebanese state to consider stepping in for the first time in three decades to buy millions of dollars a month of wheat as they seek alternatives to Ukrainian and Russian markets given the ongoing crisis. There is no capacity at the central bank to pay higher prices. It’s now subsidizing wheat at a cost of $390 or $400 a ton, but if international prices increase to $500 a ton then the central bank’s costs increase because it subsidizes wheat 100%.’ This means that at current prices, Lebanon’s central bank is spending around $20 million a month. Customs figures show that in 2020, Lebanon imported 81 per cent of its wheat from Ukraine and 15 per cent from Russia. Salam said that he hoped that the US and others would provide up to $20 million to help Lebanon stockpile its wheat reserves. He said he hoped to reduce the price of bread if a foreign country stepped in to support Lebanon’s food security. ‘We want prices to go down or remain stable. If they go up, it’ll be a disaster.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.