New Lebanese Prime Minister faces hellish task to help his country on top of it

Mustapha Adib is the new Prime Minister of Lebanon. According to the Lebanese political system, Sunni Muslims must nominate the prime minister, but Shiite and Christian parties also support the relatively unknown politician. He received 90 out of 120 votes. President Michel Aoun has now asked him to form a government.

Adib’s task is to get the country back on its feet with a new government after the devastating explosion in the port of the capital Beirut at the beginning of this month. Nearly two hundred people lost their lives, thousands were injured and a large part of the city was destroyed. A few days after the disaster, Prime Minister Hassan Diab resigned.

Lebanon was already facing an unprecedented economic crisis, hyperinflation, political tensions and the corona- pandemic. The explosion has left the country even further behind. The World Bank estimates that the explosion caused between $3.2 and $4.5 billion in material damage, mainly to buildings and the transport sector. The organization thinks that there is an economic damage of another 3 billion dollars.

Reforms

The relatively unknown Adib must now do what his predecessor failed to do: implement economic and political reforms. Due to permanent political disagreements between the establishment and the opposition, the country has been at a standstill for some time.

Adib has been Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany since 2013. According to observers, the fact that he is not very well known is an important reason for nominating him. A large part of the population believes that mismanagement and corruption of the political elite are partly responsible for the explosion.

According to many Lebanese, the disaster shows that there should be administrators with qualities, instead of people with influence in the backrooms of Lebanese politics. President Aoun said yesterday that he is convinced of that too.

Opposition not happy

Whether Adib will be well received is still very much to be seen, according to correspondent Daisy Mohr. “The opposition, which wants to see radical changes, has immediately indicated that they are not happy with this,” says Mohr. “In their opinion, this Prime Minister does not stand for change, but for maintaining the existing order.”

“We just saw images on Lebanese television of the brand new Prime Minister going into the affected neighbourhoods of Beirut and being scolded by a few residents. They are convinced that this new Prime Minister will carry out what the establishment order will demand of him and that it is not someone who can resist and implement much-needed reforms. It certainly won’t be easy for Prime Minister Adib,” said the correspondent.

Adib said it is no longer time for words, but for deeds. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and collectively restore hope among the Lebanese.”