Lebanon is holding its first parliamentary elections on Sunday, since an economic collapse has intensified over several years and has exacerbated strong political tensions in Beirut.
There is growing poverty and anger in the population, and the Lebanese have demonstrated on a large scale against the political elite, which they consider deeply corrupt.
Sunday’s election is not least considered an important test of the heavily armed Iranian – backed Hezbollah militia, which along with allies has the majority in the current parliament.
In recent years, Lebanese have seen a tenfold increase in food and gasoline prices. At the same time, Lebanon’s currency has fallen 90 percent in value. Savings have evaporated and many cannot afford the fixed expenses.
The government does not even manage to provide electricity in the houses and streets. It only works one hour a day.
For more than a year, protesters have demanded that those in power be held responsible for both the financial crisis and a gigantic explosion that devastated large parts of Beirut in August 2020.
The catastrophic explosion in large fertilizer depots in Beirut’s industrial port was the result of widespread corruption and incompetence in the ruling class for 30 years.
At least 217 people lost their lives. About 5,000 were injured in the disaster, which left 300,000 people homeless.
The economic problems in Lebanon today are called by the World Bank one of the world’s three deepest economic crises since the 1850s.
The crisis has ’emerged from the government’s failed policy’ and has sentenced an entire generation to a life of poverty. This is what the UN special envoy for poverty, Olivier de Schutter, says.
The primary causes of the crisis are corruption and a very short-term economic policy on the part of the government and the central bank, his report concludes.
The crisis is causing more and more desperate Lebanese to try to leave the country.
A new refugee route has been opened in the Mediterranean from Lebanon to the EU country Cyprus, which is about 260 kilometers away in bird flight.
Source: Politiken.dk – Forsiden by politiken.dk.
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