Lebanon needs urgent international help to protect its people from their country’s worst economic crisis, the International Crisis Group said.

The think tank said it was “highly questionable” whether the political elite would be able to oversee such a transition, describing it as “pulling out the rug from under their own feet”.

“It is very hard to imagine that they will do so unless the Lebanese who have gone into the streets since October 2019 find ways to exert sustained pressure on the country’s political institutions,” it said.

Lebanon needs urgent international help and long-demanded reforms to protect its people from their country’s worst economic crisis, the International Crisis Group said. “The economic crisis is without precedent in the country’s history,” the Brussels think tank said.

 

Lebanon’s economy has been in freefall since last year, sparking mass protests from October against an entrenched political class viewed as inept and corrupt.

 

The local currency has plunged in value, prices have soared, and tens of thousands have lost their jobs or had their salaries slashed, all compounded from mid-March by a coronavirus lockdown.

 

That month, the heavily debt-ridden country defaulted for the first time.

 

The government has since adopted an economic recovery plan and entered talks with the International Monetary Fund, seeking to unlock billions of dollars in aid.

 

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