Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/15/2022

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
June 15th, 2022







Consultations on New Prime Minister to Begin Next Week
According to an official source via Reuters, the Lebanese President Michel Aoun will hold binding consultations with members of parliament regarding the selection of the new prime minister starting next Thursday, June 23rd. [Reuters]




$16 Million Allocated for UN’s Lebanon Humanitarian Fund
In a press release, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Mrs. Najat Rochdi, announced that the Lebanon Humanitarian Fund (LHF) has allocated $16 million focused on humanitarian support in Lebanon. In the release she said, “needs continue growing day by day and it is essential for the humanitarian community to adjust the response and assist all those most in need. The LHF is a flexible funding instrument that enables a Whole of Lebanon response.”

Read Full Press Release Here




Judge in Lebanese Probe Against BDL Governor Recuses Himself
After the top Lebanese prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidat referred a high-profile corruption probe investigating Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, and others, to a Lebanese court, the judge he ordered to preside over the case, Ziad Abu Haidar, recused himself, “due to the sensitivity of the case.” According to Reuters, “in practice, the case has stopped for the first time in one and a half years,’ one of the sources said. ‘That’s dangerous,’ the source added, because no judge currently presides over it and it could remain in limbo for an extended period of time.” [Reuters]




US Still Assessing Overland Energy Deal
In an interview with Al-Hurra TV, the State Department’s Senior Advisor for Energy Security, Amos Hochstein, commented on the US-mediated overland energy deal involving the governments of Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and (indirectly) Syria, saying, “We’ve given pre-approval for the project and as soon as Egypt and Lebanon can agree on the terms, which hasn’t happened yet, then we can evaluate the project . . . [if they are compliant], then I believe we will be in a place where we can say it doesn’t violate the Casear sanctions and have the gas finally flow.” This comes amid recently publicized deliberations in the US Congress regarding the proposed deal. [Reuters]








Addressing The Way Forward In Lebanon
Jean AbiNader 
AbiNader writes, “the appointment of a resident IMF representative to advise on Lebanon’s financial recovery and report directly to the IMF Board, and the restart of the Central Bank audit and subsequent lifting of several banking secrecy laws only add to the speculation surrounding the future of the Central Bank. It currently answers to no one, as its internal monitoring and governance responsibilities actually lie in-house, with only sporadic reporting required or offered. It is precisely this concern for the lack of accountability that several of the new members of parliament (MPs) are seeking to change.  The standard Parliamentary procedures of nominating and selecting committee members exposed flaws in the system, namely secret ballots for the committee positions. The voting process also exposed the lack of a unified, or at least coordinated, strategy for nominating seats by the new group of independents who have yet to present some structure and definition to their political aims amid the multiplicity of campaign issues.”




Electoral Lab, AUB Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs
Post Parliamentary Elections Indicators

Ibrahim Jouhari
Jouhari writes, “With significant help from the international community, channeled through the efforts of UNDP Leap and other agencies, the elections happened without any major logistical problems. Some polling centers had electricity cuts, others faced long queues, and there was some hiccups in the expatriates’ voting procedures with long lines reported in several countries, but the process was brought to fruition and the votes were cast and then counted. Although, the initial reports of international and local observes were fairly critical, the elections’ overall legitimacy has not been seriously questioned . . . On May 18, 2022 and despite earlier reporting of a much lower turnout[1] the ministry republished the results with corrected registered numbers and the turnout rose to 49.19 , with a minimal drop of 0.47%, down from 49.67% in 2018. However, it seems there are still some issues with the number of registered voters as the detailed numbers were missing the numbers of registered in each polling station. This shows that despite a horrendous economic, financial, and health crisis, rising travel costs the Lebanese went out and voted in large numbers, on par with 2018.”





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.