Daylight saving controversy leaves Lebanon with two time zones
A last-minute decision by the Lebanese government to delay the start of daylight saving time by a month, until the end of Ramadan, spread confusion across the country on Sunday.
The country’s prime minister Najib Mikati surprised everyone when he made the last minute decision so that Muslims could break the fast an hour earlier, at around 18:00 instead of 19:00, the time set by the Sun.
The move has caused widespread controversy.
Many businesses were caught unprepared for the decision and decided not to follow the government and moved their time forward an hour.
The Lebanese Maronite Church has also broken with the government and said it would move until the summer.
Several other major media outlets refused to comply with a government decision that was widely criticized for its lack of planning, and some outlets said in a statement that they would “protest the decision of the Union. [caretaker] chief minister”.
On Thursday, the Lebanese government announced the decision to push the start of daylight savings to April 21.
Although no official reason was given for the move, a leaked video of a meeting between Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri showed Berri asking Mikati to postpone the implementation of daylight saving to allow Muslims to break their Ramadan fast an hour before.
The Muslim holy month began on March 22 and ends on April 21.
The decision was also widely accepted as “most predictable manufacturing event” by politicians who want to attract divisions.
“Time zones announced by the government three days ago are not being used by various institutions such as some local media outlets and all Catholic schools. Chaos is in full swing as we all try to figure out when our appointments are Monday,” she said.
Lebanon: Hundreds protest lira devaluation and pensions
Read more ”
The time zone controversy also highlights the chaotic uncertainty the country has entered in the past few years.
The Lebanese lira is free; the country’s largest 100,000 lira bill is now worth less than $1, a huge drop from $66 before the financial crisis hit in 2019. Lebanon’s currency was rated the worst in the world this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Unsustainable borrowing, financial mismanagement and corruption by sectarian elites, coupled with long periods of political vacuum and virtually no productive global economic growth, have resulted in one of the world’s worst economic crises since the mid-1800s. the 1800s, according to the World Bank.
Since 2019, Lebanese banks have imposed strict restrictions on withdrawals, leading angry depositors to resort to lawsuits or armed raids on banks to access their own funds.