Lebanon: Cabinet passes economic reforms amid protests

BEIRUT

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Monday the cabinet’s approval on a package of economic reforms in an attempt to appease growing anger against the current government.

Hariri’s announcement comes after the end of a 72-hour period in which he demanded to agree on reforms and to overcome the current crisis.

“We will reduce the salaries of ministers and MPs by 50%,” Hariri said, where it is one of the main demands of the Lebanese people.

“The decision of ending the protests is up to you and I won’t allow anyone to intimidate you,” Hariri directing his speech to the protesters.

Later on Monday, the Lebanese presidency approved the Hariri’s initiative to tackle the ongoing crisis. While talks will continue on the banks’ contribution to the electricity sector which is one of the Lebanon’s main problems.

Anti-government protests, fueled by deteriorating economic conditions and anger over government’s corruption and failures, have broke out across the country since Thursday.

Lebanon suffers from high unemployment, little growth and one of the highest debts ratios in the world, with a debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to a statement by the Lebanese Ministry of Finance in May 2019.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
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