Ashamed: Lebanese Despair at Leaders After Macrons Rebuke

BEIRUT—Lebanese are in despair at their sectarian leaders who have left the nation without a government during the worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war that has already driven many into poverty.

Emmanuel Macron, president of Lebanons former colonial power France who has led international efforts to offer support, also rebuked politicians after his initiative faltered when the prime minister-designate quit amid bickering for ministerial posts.

With politics deadlocked and the economy crushed by debt, Lebanons pound took a further dive, adding to the pain of citizens, many of whom have struggled to make ends meet since the economic crisis erupted in 2019.

“The first thing we need is a government,” said Taleb Tamer, a 31-year-old baker in Beirut, which was hammered by a devastating port blast in August that killed almost 200 people.

“I have rent, household expenses, and the pound is finished. God willing, they will form a government to fix the situation. But it needs time,” he said.

The ruling elite has yet to signal how they will solve the crisis in a nation where politics relies on power-sharing between Christian and Muslim sects. The challenge of finding an exit deepened on Sept. 26 when Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim named on Aug. 31, stood down.

His efforts to form a cabinet of nonpartisan ministers ran into the sand after Lebanons two main Shiite groups, the Amal Movement and the heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah, demanded that they name several ministers, including the finance post.

Scolding Politicians

Lebanon, dubbed the Switzerland of the Middle East before its civil war, has been trying to rebuild since the conflict. But its plans stumbled as debts mounted amid fractious, sectarian politics that have provided fertile ground for regional rivalries to play out between Sunni Muslim Gulf Arabs, Shiite Iran, and others.

“I am ashamed of Lebanons political leaders,” Macron said in Paris on Sept. 27, after politicians reneged on their promise to him on Sept. 1 to swiftly form a government that could start reforms and triggers vital foreign aid.

He criticized Hezbollah and a leading Sunni politician, former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, for their roles in the deadlock.

Macron told politicians this month they could face sanctions if corruption stood in the way of reforms. On Sept. 27, he said he would give them up to six weeks more to form a cabinet, saying he would only consider sanctions at a later staRead More – Source