The Lebanese government introduced its new Prime Minister on August 31, an expected move from a government under intense criticism. Mustapha Adib, a former Ambassador to Germany, assumed the role after securing support from the Lebanese parliament and accepting the president’s appointment, according to the . His tenure will not start on an easy note however, as the new Prime Minister will be tasked with confronting a multitude of crises facing the state while battling extreme skepticism from his own citizens.
Adib is assuming the role of Prime Minister during one of the more turbulent periods of Lebanese history. The state is currently reeling from an explosion at the Beirut port, a center of financial activity for the country. The explosion, according to
In addition to the tragic loss of life and the hundreds of thousands left homeless, the explosion further worsened the already dire economic condition of Lebanon. The destruction of the port alone dealt a huge blow to the already weak Lebanese economy. As reported by The New York Times, “The port has long been a critical link in the country’s supply chain for goods including food and medicine, handling 60 percent of the country’s overall imports.” The explosion also destroyed multiple grain silos, which, according to the Times, stored 85% of the country’s grain reserves.
Aside from the immediate issues stemming from the loss of the port, the explosion stands to devastate the national economy. Even before the crisis, the Lebanese currency had already depreciated 80% in value, as reported by the Associated Press. The explosion will now be seen as a catalyst for the economic crisis, as the country is now looking at an paying an additional $15 billion in damage to Beirut, according to Al Jazeera. With little financial support from the International Monetary Fund and foreign countries due to the immense debt Lebanon carries, Prime Minister Adib assumes his new role as head of government under dire circumstances.
While Adib will most certainly have his work cut out for him dealing with the financial circumstances of the state, he will also have to combat intense criticism from his own constituents. The Prime Minister secured his new position following the resignation of the previous government, and received 90 of 128 votes from Parliament to become the new Prime Minister, as reported by the Associated Press. Despite receiving support from the various ruling political parties of Lebanon, the Lebanese people remain highly doubtful of his ability to bring real change. Their skepticism stems from general feelings of distrust in the government. As one Lebanese citizen stated in an interview with Al Jazeera, “I don’t think it [the government’s resignation] will make a difference. All the ministers in Lebanon are just a face. Behind that are the militias who control everything.”
Rampant corruption coupled with militia involvement in political affairs has eroded the trust between the state and her people. The government has also come off as somewhat disinterested in the plight of those living in Beirut. Following the explosion, no members of the Parliament visited the site, making Adib’s appearance in Gemmayzeh, one of the destroyed neighborhoods, the first time a member of the government had visited Beirut.
While Adib has put himself on the frontlines of the crisis in his first few weeks in office, skepticism remains high. The mere fact that he was appointed by a corrupt Parliament triggered concerns amongst the Lebanese people. “It’s a good thing that the government resigned. But we need new blood or it won’t work,” said another Lebanese citizen in an interview with Reuters, indicating that the citizens of Lebanon associate their new Prime Minister with the corrupt government system. Adib’s success will be reliant upon his ability to lift the country out of its economic crisis and garner legitimate support from the Lebanese people.