BEIRUT: Following a lengthy political standoff for most of 2018 and the beginning of the new year that only worsened the economic crisis in the country, Lebanese political parties agreed Thursday on the establishment of a new government.
Beirut’s sky lit up with fireworks in celebration after the nine-month delay in forming a cabinet and many Lebanese took to social media to express their overdue joy.
The Lebanese dollar bonds rallied 3-4 cents after the new government was formed in the highly-indebted country.
Most local restaurants made a special discount on cinnamon pudding, a traditional Lebanese dessert that’s usually served after the birth of a baby.
“A baby is born after nine months of pregnancy, and our government was born after nine months of delay so I bought cinnamon pudding for my family to celebrate,” tweeted Hassan Dia Thursday night.
In his speech from the presidential palace, Prime Minister Saad Hariri, apologized to the Lebanese for the time they had taken to form the new cabinet.
Four out of the 30 ministries will be run by women, a first in terms of numbers in Lebanon’s history.
The newly formed government appointed Raya Hassan as Minister of the Interior, Nada Bustani as Minister of Energy and Water, May Chidiac as Minister of State for Administrative Development Affairs and Violet Khairallah as Minister for Women's Affairs.
The new Ministers have left many youth hopeful as they took to social media, expressing their joy that Lebanon seems to be “heading in the right direction for once,” tweeted 20 year old retail employee Joyce Danash.
After the formation of the new government, the Political Studies and Public Administration society at the American University of Beirut organized a Friday visit to the Parliament and gave the opportunity for 130 students of different backgrounds to meet with several Members of the Parliament who explained how the government works, and discussed of the changes they are planning to make.
Most of the students were hopeful after the visit, whereas some remained skeptical.
Zeinab Hammoud, a 20-year-old and an active member in the PSPA society told Annahar that she was surprised that the MPs they met seemed imbued with knowledge in the way they spoke.
“It might mean truly nothing that I was surprised, looking at the state of our country; no one would assume that the people in the Parliament or government know what they are doing,” Hammoud noted.
Habib Bantan, a Political Studies and Public Administration student felt more at ease after the visit to the Parliament.
“When you hear concrete plans for the future of Lebanon face to face from MPs, it differs a lot from when you hear it on television,” Bantan noted.
Some became more optimistic despite the dire economic situation the country is in now, and believe that small progress is still progress.
“The fact that we now have four female ministers, something we couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago is notable,” exclaimed Pamela Faddoul, a Fashion Design student.
“I think that our politicians are finally starting to notice that this generation is not like the older one, and we are not going to blindly follow them if they don’t start listening to us,” she said.
Gracia Abboud, a recent Forensic Science graduate insists that she has never lost hope in the country to begin with.
She’s planning her wedding, and aims at starting a family in Lebanon and asserts that as long as the hard working youth stay in Lebanon and keep pushing for reforms through protesting amongst other methods the country will be just fine.
“When you’re house is messy you tidy it up, you don’t abandon it and buy yourself a new house.”
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