Lebanon's currency drops amid crisis

Lebanon’s currency drops amid crisis

Protesters took to the streets in several country areas on Monday night. There were burning tires and angry voices at the alarming economic situation amid political deadlock. Cars queued at fuel stations to fill up before another expected price elevation.

 

The Lebanese pound, which has failed more than 90% of its value since 2019, was trading at a new low of higher than 33,000 to the dollar on Tuesday from 27,400 on Dec. 31. It had sold at 1,500 before a mountain of debt destroyed the economy.

Public frustration sparked through political sclerosis among Lebanon’s sectarian leaders.

 

President asking for talks

 

A new cabinet, established in September as a step towards restoring talks with the International Monetary Fund, has not met for almost three months amid a controversy over the conduct of an investigation into the devastating 2020 Beirut port explosion.

President Michel Aoun held a series of conferences on Monday and Tuesday. He is looking to win support for a national dialogue conference to debate the economic crisis, among other issues. Nonetheless, he has so far only secured backing from his close allies.

After meeting the president, Mohamed Raad from Hezbollah, a powerful Shi’ite Muslim group with an alliance with Aoun’s Christian party, said that the call for dialogue is expected at the best of times necessary. It is more than necessary not to stop the conversation at a time of hardship, pressure, and bickering.

Others, including Aoun’s Christian community rivals, have refused the proposal. Some have stated talks must pause until a parliamentary election in May. Meanwhile, others have expressed the cabinet needs to meet first.

Aoun’s six-year term as president, a post devoted for a Christian under Lebanon’s sectarian system, ends later this year, adding further uncertainty to the political perspective.

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