BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil Friday evening criticized the decision to postpone the start of daylight savings time in Lebanon, and the country's "state of inaction."
The Grand Serail announced Thursday that the transition to summer hours, scheduled for midnight March 26-27, was “exceptionally” postponed for a month.
The move to daylight saving time, which is usually scheduled for March 24, was postponed until the end of April, during an almost surreal discussion between caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.
Mocking the decision, and criticizing those who took it, Bassil said, "You don't have to ask about an international timing and the link to the global economy, and the complete isolation of Lebanon from the outside community, its times, and its developments."
"The executive power merged with the legislative power," Bassil added.
"Where are you people? Silence is not permissible. And it should not be less than a challenge to their decision or disobedience to it if they do not cancel it. It must be as if it did not happen," he added, "but there is no need for a sectarian reaction, because the story is not sectarian — the story is arrogance and ignorance."
While it was initially unclear whether times on digital appliances and in international systems will be automatically adjusted regardless of the decision, several phone owners in Lebanon received a text message Saturday asking them to "adjust the clock settings on your mobile phone from automatic to manual to avoid changing the time on the phone screen."
'State of inaction'
Referring to Mikati and Berri, Bassil also criticized government and parliamentary inaction in implementing reforms needed to unlock a $3 billion aid package from the International Monetary Fund.
"In their era, the IMF talked about the 'state of inaction' of the government, Parliament and the central bank, and that without implementing reforms, Lebanon will plunge into an endless crisis," Bassil said. "We are not fond of the IMF, but we consider it a means of pressure to implement the necessary reforms and a means to obtain aid and investments."
While on a ten-day visit to Lebanon, the IMF delegation Thursday of took stock of the country's economic and financial situation, dwelling on Lebanese authorities’ failure to implement the reforms promised as part of a staff-level agreement with the IMF.
The delegation made this assessment as it concluded its oversight mission in Lebanon, which is an IMF member state, in accordance with Article IV of Articles of Agreement.
'Not a referee without a whistle'
Turning to the presidential vacancy, Bassil listed his party's preferences for a president, saying, "We need a president who confronts the system to stop its crimes, not to be a part of it and a continuation of its path."
Lebanon has been without a president since the end of former President Michel Aoun's mandate on Oct. 31 while the government remains in a caretaker mode since the parliamentary election in May. Aoun is the founder of the FPM and Bassil's father-in-law.
"We need a president who knows that the presidency is a responsibility, a job, tireless ... one that understands that all files are economy, money and law, and that the palace is a work cell, not a casino," Bassil added. "We need a president who preserves the position and authority of the presidency and believes that he is an authority, not an image, and that he is a partner in governance, not a referee without a whistle."
Bassil, who is sanctioned by the US and the target of the international community, has been a presidential hopeful but Hezbollah and the Amal Movement say they are backing Bassil's main rival, Sleiman Frangieh, for the presidency, while their opponents, including the Lebanese Forces, are backing Zgharta MP Michel Moawad.
BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil Friday evening criticized the decision to postpone the start of daylight savings time in Lebanon, and the country's "state of inaction."The Grand Serail announced Thursday that the transition to summer hours, scheduled for midnight March 26-27, was “exceptionally” postponed for a month.The move to daylight saving time, which is usually...