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Bachar Bzeih 27 Mar 2023

Lebanese Government Officially Reverses Timezone Decision

Najib Mikati’s cabinet met today at the Grand Serail to solely discuss the current timezone crisis. Last Thursday, the Council of Ministers General Secretary had issued a decree announcing that Lebanon will be postponing the move to daylight savings time till April 21st.

Chaos then ensued, as media channels, schools, and businesses announced that they would be boycotting the change and moving the clock forward in defiance of the government decision, while others pledged their commitment to keeping the clock back as decreed. The move also caused some problems for technical systems around the country, as teams moved to adjust the automatic time change to the last-minute decision. Many tweets were tweeted about the fiasco, alongside coverage by the international press.

Mikati had canceled a cabinet session set for Monday on Saturday, citing the sectarian discourses that had emerged after decision. However, on Sunday, after the Minister of Education made the decision to move educational institutions to DST, and then reversed it, a cabinet session was called solely to discuss the timezone issue.

The cabinet session opened at 12:30 (GMT+2)/ 1:30 (GMT+3). After about an hour and half, Prime Minister Najib Miktati came out and announced that the caretaker cabinet has officially agreed that Lebanon will once again follow daylight saving time (GMT+3), starting midnight on Thursday.

In a speech after the meeting, Mikati said that the decision was initially made to ease Ramadan fasting, and did not intend to target any group or sect. He denounced the sectarian tensions that arose after the decision, stating that the issue is much wider than time but related to the vacuum at the centre of the Lebanese executive branch.