Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Confusion Threatens International Trust In Lebanon's Government

Confusion Threatens International Trust In Lebanon's Government

Tuesday, 2 June, 2020 - 09:30
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab signs a request for assistance from the International Monetary Fund at the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon May 1, 2020. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

A dispute over the implementation of the government’s electricity rehabilitation plan has drawn local and international attention and criticism over the Cabinet’s “inability to respect its decisions.”

The government went back on an earlier decision to annex the Salaata power plant project to the second phase of the electricity rehabilitation program.

President Michel Aoun had asked the Cabinet Friday to reconsider a decision to postpone the building of a power plant in the village of Salaata on the northern coast. To diffuse tension with Aoun, Diab found an exit to reconsider his government’s decision, despite rejections from the Amal Movement and the Marada Movement’s ministers.

The plan is also opposed by other political forces such as the Mustaqbal movement, the Lebanese Forces, and the Progressive Socialist Party.

Parties against the plan said that building a third plant in Lebanon requires tens of millions of dollars by the time the country is suffering from a dire economic and financial crisis.

A minister, who had voted in favor of the decision before the government retracted it, stressed that Diab has “mismanaged his battle” against the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, MP Gebran Bassil.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the minister told Asharq Al-Awsat that he was not aware of the reasons behind Diab’s decision, which came after his meeting with Aoun, before the Cabinet session that “politically harmed his government on the one hand, and caused him international and Arab embarrassment, on the other.”

A deputy also commented on the government’s move, saying: “The government’s performance is dominated by improvisation and confusion… which is hindering key financial, banking and administrative appointments.”

This would shake the government’s credibility before the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the deputy noted, especially as bold moves are required to implement the approved reform plans.

Editor Picks