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Lebanon is desperate for change but Sunday’s election is unlikely to help

Ponzi Scheme

Lebanon is desperate for change but Sunday’s election is unlikely to help


Women stand beneath an electoral billboard in Lebanon’s capital Beirut (AFP via Getty Images)

Lebanon goes to the polls on Sunday for the first general election since a severe economic and political crisis hit the country in late 2019.

In the last three years, the currency, the Lebanese pound, has lost more than 90 per cent of its value, trapping the vast majority of the population into poverty, according to the United Nations.

The economic meltdown and the country’s political instability triggered a series of protests that began in 2019, also known as the 17th October Revolution or Thawra (revolution).

Civil society organisations have joined those on the streets to protest against the current sectarian political establishment, accusing it of corruption and being accountable for the economic freefall and its consequences.

But although Lebanon is a country in desperate need of change, Sunday’s election is unlikely to help.

Civil society groups, activists and citizens involved in mass protests have created a fragmented opposition, lessening the likelihood that independent candidates can overturn the current political class and gain enough seats to trigger a change.

Events in the last three years have shown that the Lebanese state has failed to provide basic services. It also showed how sectarian political parties have pushed back mass protests and dispersed public anger by ignoring political demands or accusing each other of maintaining and entrenching the status quo.


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