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The Lebanese pound has plummeted to a new low on 26 May, reaching 35,000 liras to the dollar as divisions and concerns of a political deadlock plague Lebanon’s newly elected parliament.
Since the start of the financial collapse in 2019, the Lebanese currency has lost over 95 percent of its value.
Lawmakers have so far failed to hold their first session as political tension rises over the upcoming election of a parliamentary speaker, which according to Lebanese law must take place within 15 days after the general elections are held.
According to local media reports, Lebanon’s Syndicate of Private Hospital Owners has organized a sit-in demonstration in front of the Lebanese Central Bank (Banque Du Liban), in protest of the institution’s failure to transfer employee wages, as well as the negative impact of its policies on the Lebanese population in general.
A number of healthcare facilities in Tripoli have shut down as part of the strike, limiting services only to emergency medical cases and patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s bakery owners also staged a demonstration in front of the Economy Ministry, protesting the shortage of wheat required for the country’s bread mills, in addition to the sharp increase in bread prices resulting in the fluctuation of the exchange rate.
Lebanon reached an agreement on 7 April with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a set of economic reforms, including capital controls and the lifting of bank secrecy regulations, that could result in a $3 billion grant to aid the crisis-hit nation.
The Lebanese state, however, has so far failed to implement the required reforms necessary to secure the IMF bailout package.
The UN has accused Lebanon’s government and central bank of “human rights violations” for creating the conditions for an acute economic crisis that has plunged over 80 percent of the population below the poverty line.
“The Lebanese State, including its Central Bank, is responsible for human rights violations, including the unnecessary immiseration of the population, that have resulted from this man-made crisis,” a UN report, released on 11 May, reads.