President Michel Aoun vacated the presidential palace on Sunday amid acclamations from his supporters, a day before his mandate expires without a designated successor, which threatens a new power vacuum in the crisis-torn country.
Here’s a quick recap of what went wrong during his term:
Inflation & Devaluation Of The Lebanese Lira
Lebanon will weaken its official exchange rate for the first time in more than two decades as part of efforts to tackle a crippling financial crisis.
The exchange rate has been officially pegged at 1,507 LBP to the dollar since 1997 but will drop to 15,000 to the greenback at the end of October, which is the end of Aoun’s term.
With the Lebanese Lira trading at beyond 40,000 to the dollar on the black market, this step might or might not stabilize a currency that has been in freefall for three years.
The Lebanese Lira has lost more than 95 percent of its value on the black market since the 2019 onset of Lebanon’s financial crisis, branded by the World Bank as one of the planet’s worst in modern times.
Frozen Savings In The Banks
Amid the worsening and lengthening banking crisis in Lebanon, frustrations have reached an extreme level with some depositors, compelling them to take radical action: raiding the banks, armed, to demand their money.
August 4th Explosion
Two years ago, a huge amount of ammonium nitrate exploded at the port of Beirut, destroying half of the capital. What did not happen in 15 years of civil war happened in one minute.
Several high-ranked officials, including President Aoun, were warned about the existence of the ammonium nitrate in the port and its extreme risk. No action was ever taken to remove them.
The investigation continues to be obstructed by political interference and justice hasn’t been served as of yet. The families of the victims and the entire Lebanese nation have not yet seen justice to date.
Fuel And Electricity Crisis
With a fuel prices sheet coming every morning from the ministry of water and energy, if there’s no fuel shortage the prices constantly hike, leaving the Lebanese people unable to afford to move inside the country.
On June 7th, 2021, President Michel Aoun signed a document that enables the Electricité du Liban (EDL) to secure an advance payment in foreign currency in order to secure electricity.
As of today, Lebanon gets no more than two hours of electricity every 24 hours.
A severe shortage of medicines
As the country has kept moving backward these past three years amidst a daily deterioration of the USD exchange rate, medication shortages became a crisis people in Lebanon have to endure, and diseases that should be easily treated are now once again perilous.
Life-crucial medications, like cancer meds and heart meds, became scarce and mostly inaccessible to many patients, forcing them to die slowly in their suffering.
According to France24, the smuggling costs Lebanon’s struggling economy $15 million a day and is preventing the international community from aiding Lebanon. That is in addition to exacerbating the crises the Lebanese people are suffering from, including food and fuel.