Nabih Berri Re-Elected Speaker of Parliament for the 7th Time In its inaugural session following the May 15th elections, the Lebanese parliament convened today and voted for its Speaker of Parliament. MP Nabih Berri, the head of the Shiite Amal Movement, was re-elected as Speaker of Parliament for the 7th time, a position he has held since 1992. AP News reports that, “in a reflection of the divisions and polarization in the new assembly, Tuesday’s session was characterized by tense back-and-forth shouting and arguing between Berri and indignant lawmakers.” [AP News]
Fitch Ratings Warns of Challenges to Progress on Reforms On Friday, Fitch Ratings warned that the aftermath of the recent Lebanese Parliamentary elections may see hindered progress on the key financial reforms that are required of Lebanon in order to secure an agreement with the IMF, referencing the difficulty for any coalition to have a governing majority in the current political climate. On Friday the Lira reached 37,900 LL to 1 USD. [AP News]
French President Expected to Visit Lebanon Soon As reported by Naharnet, citing Lebanon’s Central News Agency, the French President Emmanuel Macron, “has recently informed one of his top aides in the Elysee’s special crisis cell for Lebanon that he intends to visit Beirut immediately after the June 19 French parliamentary elections, and after he carries out changes to his international affairs team . . . The French president has asked the Lebanon crisis cell to prepare for the visit, which he wants it to be decisive as to preventing Lebanon’s collapse and averting a possible presidential vacuum.” [Naharnet]
Beirut Airport Technicians Announce Strike According to L’Orient Today, “Beirut Airport technicians announced on Monday that they will go on strike from Wednesday, June 2 at 8 p.m. until Thursday, June 16 at 6 a.m. to protest the deterioration of their working conditions.” Based on the statement released, the technicians threatened an escalation if their demands for an improvement in working conditions are not met, but clarified that their services will not be suspended for the flights of ministers, search and rescue, or relief and urgent cases. [L’Orient Today]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Diwan, Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center The Impending Void Michael Young
Young writes, “Anyone who is anodyne enough to pass the filter of all the political parties will hit up against a Maronite Christian demand that the president must be representative of his or her community; and the commander is the single person, by virtue of the institution he leads, credible enough to be an exception to that rule. However, it is unclear whether Hezbollah would agree, given that the army played a decisive role in repulsing the deployment of Hezbollah and Amal gunmen around the Christian neighborhood of Ain al-Remmaneh last October. Where does this leave us? One thing that will help answer the question is that Lebanon’s social and economic catastrophe is reaching untenable levels . . . The Lebanese may be able to endure a great deal, but that fortitude is not open-ended.”
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.