Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/19/2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021


Lebanon’s Parliament Votes for March 27 Election
Today Lebanon’s Parliament confirmed March 27, 2022 as the parliamentary election date, originally scheduled for May of next year. MPs also voted against adding six additional seats for expatriate votes, instead approving their votes for the 128 MP seats. They also voted against a quota for women, but it will be discussed in a committee and revisited in a later parliamentary session. [Al Jazeera] Further, MPs voted against voting megacenters and the magnetic voting card. [Naharnet]

IMF Technical Discussions Under Way
After the announcement that Lebanon has resumed talks with the IMF a couple weeks ago, a senior IMF official confirmed that technical discussions to address financial losses have started. Last week Prime Minister Miqati said that his cabinet would provide the IMF with necessary financial figures in the coming days. [Reuters]

Hezbollah Chief Announces 100,000 Fighters
Yesterday Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah announced that the group has 100,000 trained fighters in an apparent attempt to deter Lebanon’s armed forces while accusing Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanon Forces party, of attempting to start a civil war. He further added that Hezbollah and Amal expect to see results in the investigation into last week’s violence in Beirut, calling for accountability. [AP]


Middle East Institute
Making Sense of the Beirut Clashes
Christopher Abi-Nassif

Nassif writes, “If there’s one key takeaway from [last] week’s developments, it’s that observers, both domestic and foreign, should keep their eyes on the ball: shielding the port blast investigation and ensuring it continues unabated. Lebanon’s political establishment has mastered the art of diversion and manipulation, and Lebanese political parties are once again leveraging religious affiliations, identity politics, and threats of civil war to divert attention away from a publicly supported investigation that may implicate nearly all of them. For years, politicians have cemented their favorite, forcibly imposed tradeoff: civil peace and stability vs. justice and accountability. This approach has generally been successful — more particularly since the general amnesty law was passed in 1991 — and has often resulted in inconclusive or botched investigations as well as political reconciliations that favored maintaining the status quo over finding and acting upon the truth.”

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The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Expanding the Prerogatives of Caretaker Governments in Times of Crisis
Ziyad Baroud

Baroud writes, “Caretaker governments became much more frequent and prolonged in recent years. While the average period to form a government was six days between 1989 and 2005, it increased to 100 days between 2005 and 2016,1 reaching up to a full year in two recent cases: Tammam Salam’s (2014) cabinet took 315 days to be formed, while Hassan Diab presided over a caretaker government for more than a year (from August 2020 to September 2021). The prerogatives of caretaker governments are, however, subject to different interpretations, and a point of controversy among Lebanon’s politicians. Given that Lebanon’s pressing economic and financial crisis often required critical decisions from Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s caretaker government, this brief seeks to clarify the prerogatives that the constitution, legal jurisprudence, doctrine, and academics assign to caretaker governments, as well as what citizens can expect from them.

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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.