Lebanon government 'to focus on IMF talks and reform'

MP Ali Darwish expects new Cabinet's agenda to be ready by Thursday

Lebanon’s newly formed Cabinet met for the second time on Tuesday to compile a government agenda that includes ambitious reforms to unlock millions in international loans and aid.

MP Ali Darwish, a member of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Azm Movement, told The National of four main priorities for the new administration.

These will be:

  • Economic reform, including an audit of the public sector and reforming the country’s public procurement laws;
  • Agreeing a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund;
  • Holding legislative elections in May next year;
  • Speeding up the investigation into the port blast that killed at least 214 people on August 4 last year.

Lebanon faces a dire economic crisis that has pushed close to 80 per cent of the population into poverty, devalued the national currency by more than 90 per cent and resulted in a desperate shortage of basics including medicine, fuel and food.