Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Doha—what kind of deal?

The government has given way on key opposition demands at the Doha talks. The LA Times has some of the details.

Yet on the crucial question of elections—the compromise rewards March 14 with a disproportionate number of parliamentary seats—the sectarian foundations of the system remain unchanged.

This can only mean a recurring crisis.

The one crucial item not on the agenda was the minimum wage, inflation and the disastrous neo-liberal policies accepted by both sides.

The impact of the economic problems were outlined by Riad Salameh, the governor of the central bank. The Oxford Business Group notes:

"On May 15, Salameh warned that Lebanon would face a sharp increase in inflation, tipping price rises of more than 10 percent for the year. If Salameh's predictions are fulfilled, it would be the first time since 1994 that Lebanon's inflation rate strays into double digits, having ranged between 2 percent and 4 percent for the past 12 years."

For the vast majority of Lebanese not represented at Doha this is a pressing issue of everyday life.

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