Paula Osteih wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat:
There is no doubt that the disappointment of the Lebanese people, who cannot watch the “World Cup Qatar 2022” matches for free, as usual, on the official “Lebanon TV” screen, is not the biggest disappointment that they have experienced and are experiencing since the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis in the country in 2019. However, what happened finally With regard to the failure of Lebanese officials to reach a legal formula that would allow them to disburse $5 million to the company concerned with allowing the matches to be broadcast locally, it revealed the fragility of the current situation and the great challenges awaiting the next country on many dues in light of a presidential vacancy and the inability to convene the cabinet, which the constitution stipulates is not. He can convene while he is in the state of conducting business, except in cases of extreme necessity.
Despite the mobilization of those concerned, headed by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Minister of Information Ziad Makari in the past days, to find a suitable way out to pay this amount, they have not been able, until now, to come up with a mechanism that allows not to pass through the Council of Ministers, not even through telecommunications companies, as Mikati had previously announced.
Constitutional expert Dr. Saeed Malik considers that “we are facing two problems today, the first lies in the vacancy of the presidency and the second is that we are under a caretaker government, i.e. a resigned government,” pointing out that “if we were facing one problem, which is the presence of a caretaker government, for example, while there is a president of the republic, It was possible to resort to exceptional approval issued by a decree from the country’s president and the prime minister of the resigned government, provided that the issue be presented later to the Council of Ministers, but today we are facing two main obstacles.
Malik indicated in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat that “Article 62 of the constitution states that the Council of Ministers shall represent the President of the Republic in his absence, but today there is no possibility for the government to convene because that requires strict controls and an emergency circumstance, and there is no doubt that securing the adoption of the World Cup is not It falls within this framework,” adding: “There is no doubt that there is difficulty, if not impossibility, on the constitutional level to solve this problem, and therefore every action that the government may take will be subject to criticism and will oppose constitutional views.” And Malik stresses that this problem should be “a warning bell, given that we may be on a date with bigger problems in the future, and therefore if we are unable to solve an issue of this size, how do you see us solving bigger problems. Hence the need to elect a president, form a government, and organize the work of institutions.
In the absence of the President of the Republic, the rest of the institutions are shackled, especially since, as a result of the dispute over ministerial quotas, the political forces did not succeed in forming a government before the end of the mandate of former President General Michel Aoun, given that this would have resolved many issues. Also, a large number of deputies today refuse to participate in any legislative session, since the parliament has turned into an electorate with the end of Aoun’s term, and they stress that their duties today should be limited to electing a president.
The director of the Middle East Institute for Strategic Affairs, Dr. Sami Nader, believes that “the state in Lebanon is floundering in unprecedented crises. What are the luxuries such as securing funds to allow the Lebanese to watch the World Cup matches for free?
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Nader warns of the “rapid deterioration of the central bank’s reserves, so that after it was 34 billion dollars on the eve of the crisis, today it is less than 9 billion,” describing this as “massive bleeding, as 24 billion dollars have been spent since 2019, This means that we will very soon reach a stage during which we will not be able to secure financing for our basic needs of food and medicine. He adds, “It is true that the balance of payments gap has shrunk from $21 billion to $3 billion, but there is still a gap and the situation does not bode well.”