Lebanon’s lawmakers in crisis will vote for new government – region – world


The Lebanese parliament met on Monday to vote in the cabinet of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, responsible for pulling the country out of a deep economic crisis, during a session delayed by a power cut.

No major objections were expected to Mikati’s ministerial makeup from the main political blocs, as Lebanon is in desperate need of a new government after 13 months of political stalemate.

Mikati’s 24-member cabinet, unveiled last week after a long haggling, is expected to come up with solutions to drug and fuel shortages and launch a ration card program to protect the poorest.

It will have to continue negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and oversee the preparations for the legislative elections scheduled for May 2022.

Lebanon’s economic collapse has depleted central bank reserves, devalued the currency by more than 90% and plunged three in four citizens below the poverty line.

The country is grappling with almost 24-hour blackouts that have left homes in darkness and crippled hospitals, schools and government offices.

Monday’s session was scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. (08:00 GMT) at the UNESCO Palace but was delayed by about an hour due to a power cut, Parliament Secretary General Adnan Daher told AFP.

Videos circulating on social media showed lawmakers meeting in a courtyard outside the building before power was restored.

“It’s embarrassing,” lawmaker Teymour Joumblatt told a reporter. “It’s not a country.”

Mikati, reading a statement to lawmakers ahead of the confidence vote, pledged to “resume talks with the IMF and develop a plan to revive the economy.”

The new prime minister also pledged to organize timely and transparent elections and adjust wages weakened by the devaluation of the Lebanese pound.

He pledged to restore the confidence of the international community, which is increasingly frustrated by the country’s leadership.

Mikati was interrupted by speaker Nabih Berri, who asked him to speed things up due to a risk of a power outage.

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