The Stream

Lebanon on the brink: Is there hope for change?

On Thursday, November 10 at 19:30 GMT:
For the first time, Lebanon is without both a president and a fully-functioning government. The country’s leader Michel Aoun’s departed office when his term ended last month. He leaves behind an economy in ruins, a fractured parliament that can’t agree on a successor, and a caretaker cabinet that has only limited authority.

This unprecedented power vacuum complicates efforts to tackle Lebanon’s financial crisis, which has impoverished 80 percent of its population and is now in its fourth year. There was brief hope for change in May, as the pro-Hezbollah political bloc lost their parliamentary majority and independent candidates inspired by the country’s 2019 protest movement saw big gains.

But as political deadlock has remained, many of Lebanon’s activists have grown discouraged. In September, people started holding up banks to access their own money, so now banks stay mostly closed. Regular power cuts, soaring inflation and a deadly cholera outbreak are motivating thousands of Lebanese citizens, as well as Syrian and Palestinian refugees, to leave the country and embark on perilous journeys for asylum in Europe.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been in talks with Lebanese officials to extend a $3 billion line of credit, but the caretaker government has yet to meet any of the conditions attached to the loan. Advocates say that until the government and the banking system are reformed, there’s little hope for Lebanon.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll discuss the political stalemate, its impact on the economy and what is being done to get out of this emergency.

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Alia Ibrahim, @aliaibrahim74
Journalist and co-founder, Daraj Media

Habib Battah, @habib_b

Hussein Cheaito, @husseinch96
Development Economist, The Policy Initiative