Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/03/2022

Friday, June 3, 2022




Caretaker Prime Minister Calls for Swift Formation of Government
In an interview with Al-Jadeed, Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati on Tuesday said, “I call for the formation of an exemplary government as soon as possible, and I know that this is difficult because the president wants to obtain a majority in this government so that he feels at ease, but this is difficult at the moment.” L’Orient also reports that he expressed his reluctance to take part in the formation process himself. [L’Orient Today]

Depositor Attempts Self-Immolation at Fransabank Branch
According to The961, “On Thursday, the National News Agency reported that a pensioner in Chehim (Chouf District) tried to burn himself inside Fransabank. In the details, the aforementioned person poured gasoline on his body in protest at the low purchasing value of the money he received (5,000,000 LL). One of the bank employees rushed and prevented him from burning himself. Members of the security forces arrived immediately and worked to cordon off the incident.” [The961]

British Ambassador to Lebanon Marks Platinum Jubilee, Calling for Swift Government Formation and Urgent Reforms
At an event hosted by the British Ambassador in Beirut honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and 96th birthday, the United Kingdom’s Ambassador to Lebanon, Ian Collard, called on the Lebanese government to take on pressing issues, saying, “with the conclusion of the recent parliamentary election, now is the time for leadership, to quickly form a new government that drives forward urgent reforms, with the backing of all political parties and interested groups.” [Naharnet]


Post-Election Lebanon Grinds On Without A National Strategy
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Fitch Ratings commented in a report released May 27, that the challenges of building coalitions portends significant roadblocks with respect to Lebanon’s reform momentum. The report called the results of the election ‘inconclusive,’ and asserted that it will be difficult to form a stable governing majority and therefore adopt any reform agenda. Chief among the disagreements among MPs is banking sector reform, despite the economic reform plan adopted on the final day of the Mikati government and in spite of the Staff-level agreement with the IMF. There are a number of banking sector reforms, opposed by some veteran MPs that must be addressed before any IMF relief package can be implemented. Fitch, of course, did not directly engage with critical issues such as an independent judiciary, completion of the Beirut Port explosion investigation, political reforms, reduction of public sector costs, and improvements to key sectors such as electricity and telecommunications. While the list is well known as well as optional solutions, the lack of a consensus among parliamentarians will impede any progress and hold up the presidential election as well.”

L’Orient Today
The ‘Gray’ MPs Who Hold The Keys To The Majority

Salah Hijazi
Hijazi writes, “As these elected MPs have chosen their side, it is not from among them that the various blocs are seeking potential support in their quest for a majority. It is rather among the ‘gray’ ones, those 15 or so parliamentarians that do not have a rigid political and ideological position, at least on the most divisive issues such as Hezbollah’s weapons or the political system, that Parliament’s ‘jokers’ are to be found, and capable of producing ‘à la carte’ majorities. While it may be difficult to forge alliances from this amalgam of MPs with different interests, the pro-Hezbollah camp is more capable of doing so, as it can offer its occasional allies valuable political rewards in return. This is because Hassan Nasrallah’s party best masters the role of orchestra conductor.”

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.