Lebanon’s New PM Pledges to Stabilize Economic Meltdown

Lebanon’s new prime minister pledged Friday to gain control of one of the world’s worst economic meltdowns, saying lifting subsidies was a critical priority for the small country’s government formed after a year of political stalemate, the Associated Press reported. It is a momentous task facing the 24-minister Cabinet, which includes fresh faces who are prominent experts in their fields, but which still reflects Lebanon’s fractious politics. The country’s economic crisis, unfolding since 2019, has been described as one of the worst in the world in the last 150 years. It impoverished more than half of the population within months and left the national currency in a freefall, driving inflation and unemployment to unprecedented levels. The new government is expected to undertake critically needed reforms, as well as manage public anger and tensions resulting from the lifting of fuel subsidies by the end of the month. Lebanon’s foreign reserves have been running dangerously low, and the central bank in the import-dependent country said it is no longer able to support its $6 billion subsidy program. The government is also expected to oversee a financial audit of the Central Bank and resume negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a rescue package. Read more.