Lebanon reverses decision to delay daylight savings time

lebanon reverses decision to delay daylight savings time

Clock towers near the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon on Monday. Reuters

Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has reversed his decision to delay daylight savings time in Lebanon.

Clocks will go forward one hour overnight from Wednesday to Thursday, he said on Monday.

The announcement came after an emergency meeting of the caretaker government called to address the time issue.

Mr Mikati decided on Thursday not to start daylight savings time over the final weekend of March — as usually happens in Lebanon, Europe and other regions — but instead to put clocks forward an hour on April 20.

The decision came after a discussion between Mr Mikati and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, without prior consultation.

It was widely seen as a concession to allow Muslims observing Ramadan to break their daylight-hours fasts at around 6pm rather than 7pm.

The government’s choice to delay the implementation of daylight saving sparked intense political and sectarian debates, causing division in the already fragmented Lebanese society.

Some churches, schools, media organisations, hospitals and political figures said they would not comply with the decision, creating two different time zones.

Beyond politics, it was widely opposed for the arbitrary nature of the decision, creating confusion, chaos and technical issues.

Critics also denounced the move as an attempt to divert the focus from social and economic issues.

The cabinet was initially supposed to convene on Monday to address low wages for public servants as Lebanon is battling with an unprecedented economic crisis.

Lebanon’s economic crisis has plunged more than 80 per cent of the population into poverty and sunk the value of the national currency by 98 per cent since 2019.

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