Lebanese PM Hariri bows to Protesters – Accepts to carry out reforms

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Proposed reforms to be presented to Cabinet Today

Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri has agreed to a package of reforms with government partners to ease an economic crisis that has sparked nationwide protests, official sources told Reuters, with a Cabinet meeting expected on Monday to approve them.

Widespread protests were triggered in part by a government decision last week to put a levy on WhatsApp calls. Lebanon has been hit by several days of protests ever since.

  • 50% reduction in the salaries of current and former officials
  • $3.3 billion in contributions from banks to achieve a “near zero deficit” for the 2020 budget
  • Privatisation of Lebanon’s telecommunications sector
  • Overhaul of country’s crippled power generation sector
  • No additional taxes or fees
  • Establishment of new regulatory and transparency bodies within a “short period” of time to oversee reform plans
  • An end to “rampant corruption destroying the economy”

On Sunday night, protesters have declared on Twitter that tomorrow, Monday (October 21, 2019) will commence a “general strike” all over Lebanon.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri

A cabinet meeting is expected on Monday to approve the proposed reforms. Hariri is leading a coalition government mired by sectarian and political rivalries and has given his feuding government partners a 72-hour deadline on Friday to agree to reforms that could ward off the crisis, hinting he may otherwise resign.

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