Lebanon: Govt. Reverses Decision Delaying Daylight Savings

    Lebanon: Govt. Reverses Decision Delaying Daylight Savings
    Last updated Mar 27, 2023
    Image credit: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters


    • Lebanese caretaker PM Najib Mikati on Monday reversed his decision to delay daylight savings time in Lebanon until the end of the holy month of Ramadan, announcing that clocks would go forward by one hour overnight on Wednesday after confusion engulfed the country.[1]
    • Usually, Lebanon enters daylight savings on the last Sunday in March, which aligns with most European countries. However, the government had decided to delay this so that Muslims could break their Ramadan fast an hour earlier, sparking a controversy that quickly drew sectarian undertones.[2]
    • Some institutions implemented the last-minute change while others refused, resulting in the country having two different time zones. Many Christian politicians and the Maronite Church are among those who rejected to comply with the decision.[3]
    • Lebanon’s education minister, Abbas Halabi, had said on Sunday schools would operate on daylight savings time, which would have gone against the government's decision, leading to even more confusion.[4]
    • Many outlets reported that Mikati's month-long postponement was influenced by a meeting he had with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, prompting the Lebanese Christian leadership to accuse the two Muslim leaders of exploiting the presidential vacuum.[1]
    • The session came as Lebanon's economic crisis continues to deepen, with the country's currency hitting a new low on the parallel market earlier this month, reaching 100K Lebanese Pounds (LBP) to the dollar. Lebanon is also currently without a government or president — which is reserved for a Maronite Christian — due to political infighting.[5]


    Narrative A

    Yet again, Lebanon's right-wing politicians and media organizations are agitating against the government as it tries to accommodate Muslims fasting for Ramadan. Mikati has gone out of his way to avoid sectarian rhetoric and the decision was not sectarian in any way. However, the right has decided to use this issue to stoke sectarian tensions between Muslims and Christians.

    Narrative B

    The government tried to isolate Lebanon from the rest of the world by interfering with daylight savings, but, thankfully, agitation against the decision has succeeded. While it is technically possible for a country to delay daylight savings, this decision requires approval from an international body. Lebanon will need a strong president to counteract Berri and Mikati's meddling.

    Narrative C

    As Lebanon's economic crisis continues to deteriorate into its fourth year, the government stokes sectarian divisions to distract the public from its total incompetence and corruption. Berri and Mikati knew that this decision would cause serious problems, both logistically and socially, yet as the Lira's value plunges, the Lebanese people are bickering amongst themselves over what time it is. Lebanon's political class truly has no shame in what it will do to distract the people from its greed.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that there will cease to be Maronite President of Lebanon, a Sunni Prime Minister of Lebanon, or a Shia Speaker of Parliament of Lebanon by March 2031, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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