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Lebanon could sink like the Titanic, parliament speaker says

protest against mounting economic hardships in beirut
Demonstrators take part in a protest against mounting economic hardships in Beirut, Lebanon March 28, 2021. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Influential parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri said on Monday that Lebanon would sink like the Titanic if it could not form a government.

“The whole country is in danger, the whole country is the Titanic,” Berri said at the opening of a session of parliament. “It’s time we all woke up because in the end, if the ship sinks, no one will remain.”

Lebanon is in the throes of a financial crisis that poses the biggest threat to its stability since the 1975-1990 civil war. Without a new government, it cannot implement the reforms required to unlock desperately needed foreign aid.

But prime minister-designate Saad al-Hariri and President Michel Aoun have been at loggerheads for months over the makeup of a new cabinet.

Parliament did at least approve a loan of $200 million to pay for fuel for Lebanon’s electricity company after a warning by the energy ministry that cash had run out for electricity generation beyond the end of the month.

The Zahrani power plant, one of Lebanon’s four main electricity producers, has already had to shut down for lack of fuel.

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