The Lebanese pound took a nosedive this Monday dropping against the dollar as politicians, including President Michel Aoun and FPM’s Gebran Bassil, haggle for control over ministries.
Today, the pound (lira) is trading at around 7,450 LBP/USD after rising on Friday to 6,700 LBP, after which it remained somewhat stable throughout the weekend.
The dollar is being sold for around 7,500 LBP and bought for 7,400 LBP on the black market. This is the highest the dollar has been since Saad Hariri was nominated PM-designate.
On Friday, Hariri and President Michel Aoun were reportedly putting the final touches on the Cabinet lineup to announce the government on Monday.
However, optimism for a swift government formation dissipated on Sunday as last-minute disputes over the number and distribution of key ministries emerged.
Hariri is reportedly being met with opposition from several political rivals namely Aoun’s son-in-law FPM leader Gebran Bassil, who is accused of obstructing government formation by “returning to his old demands”.
On Monday, the Lebanese Presidency asserted that consultations over the government formation are taking place “exclusively” and “constitutionally” between Aoun and Hariri alone and that “no third party” (aka Bassil) is interfering in the ongoing consultations.
Whatever the case, if Hariri does not accept the conditions reportedly being imposed on him, which do not abide by France’s terms; his last choice is to step down in the coming days.
These hurdles do not surprise many of the Lebanese public, including Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea who previously called it, saying Hariri’s nomination would “lead nowhere in the presence of the ruling trio” (FPM, Amal, Hezbollah).
After the government’s delay today, Geagea reiterated his stance saying, “As long as the ruling trio is in power, there is no hope of any salvation.”
Crises-hit Lebanon has been void of a government for nearly three months now. If Hariri does form a government soon, the general situation could improve significantly.