It was a busy political and judicial week in Lebanon, including sealing bank safes with red wax, arresting Riad Salameh’s brother Raja Salameh, and threats from the Association of Banks of a strike in response to judicial decisions.
All these developments prompted Prime Minister Najib Mikati to speed up calls for an extraordinary Cabinet session to prevent things from getting worse. However, the President of the Republic insisted on following up on the banking file to the end, which Mikati rejected and considered a threat to the economic and financial situation, as well as the parliamentary elections.
This difference in positions between the first and third presidencies was obvious in yesterday’s session. Aoun told Mikati, according to the sources: When you were assigned to form a government, you pledged several obligations, including dismissing the Central Bank Governor, and not interfering in the judiciary’s work, so do not try to evade your pledge today.
This means that Mikati’s attempt to find a settlement for reducing judicial escalation against banks or the Governor was unsuccessful. His position towards the Public Prosecutor, Ghassan Oweidat was demonstrated, saying if he did not abide by the government’s demands: “We will dismiss him and let him go home.”
The second round of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund will kick off next week. Sources following up on the file warned that Lebanese officials should consider the accuracy and firmness of this stage if an agreement is not reached with the IMF, which will be the last chance for Lebanon before the total collapse.
Will the judicial-banking developments sabotage these negotiations and pave the way for an unprecedented economic, social, financial and livelihood collapse?