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Beirut demonstrations protest political failure to form government


Beirut demonstrations protest political failure to form government

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Photo: Reuters/Aziz Taher

Thousands will gather in Beirut, Tripoli and Tyre today to protest the officials’ failure to form a government more than eight months since May’s election.

The vote further polarised Lebanon’s political parties, dividing them between Hezbollah’s supporters and critics. Ever since, the two axes have vied for control of the 30 seats on anti-Hezbollah Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s cabinet. Though an agreement was near last month, Hezbollah has insisted on an extra cabinet seat to represent Sunni interests—something Mr Hariri is unwilling to concede.

The deadlock has come at a time of economic and security concern for the Levant nation. Beirut faces the third-highest debt to GDP ratio in the world and particularly high tensions with its neighbour Israel, which recently revealed Hezbollah-dug tunnels into its borders.

Protestors, however, will focus on the country’s declining living standards, wearing yellow vests in solidarity with the recent French unrest. GDP grew by only 1 percent this year, far under the needed 6 percent to provide jobs to 30,000 Lebanese who join the labour market annually.

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With tensions high, there is a good chance that police and demonstrators will clash today, increasing pressure on officials to compromise in the coming weeks.

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