Forming New Lebanese Government Will Draw Foreign Aid, Central Bank Says

11/03/2016 - 16:34 PM

Jason Boutros

Lebanon’s election of a new president and the formation of a government will increase confidence in the economy and attract foreign aid, the head of the country’s central bank said today.

The Lebanese parliament elected former army commander Michel Aoun as president on Monday, ending a 29-month presidential vacuum. Sunni leader Saad Al-Hariri is expected to be named as prime minister today, but it is unclear how quickly he will be able to form a government.

“The election of President Aoun should lead to a normal activity of the constitutional institutions … thus increasing confidence in the economy,” Riad Salameh said at an international conference organised by the central bank in Beirut.

“The formation of a new government would help by attracting foreign aid and mitigating the cost of the Syrian presence in Lebanon that we estimate at five per cent of the GDP,” he added, referring to the large Syrian refugee population.

Lebanon is sheltering more than one million Syrians who have fled the civil war.

Political deadlock, including the presidential vacuum, paralysed state institutions and prevented the government from taking even basic decisions.

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