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Jumblatt says Lebanon needs a leader like Greece’s Tsipras

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Praising the Greek people’s Sunday rejection of European creditors’ demands for more austerity in return for a loan, Lebanon’s Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said his country could use someone like Greece’s premier to tackle its own economic problems.

“Greece’s step is huge and unprecedented in terms of how it influences the whole European reality, and [Greece’s] young Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was able to create substantive change in the relations with Europe to protect the rights of his country’s people,” Jumblatt said in his weekly column in Al-Anbaa Magazine.

Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing party Syriza elected in January, has been trying to negotiate a deal with lenders, including the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission, to prevent his country’s exit from the Eurozone.

“But the question remains this: where is Lebanon’s Tsipras, who can stop the continuous disruption of institutions and the failure to make the necessary decisions to deal with the socio-economic situation?” Jumblatt asked.

Jumblatt said Lebanon’s economic conditions were also devastating, with 25 percent unemployment and the public debt almost 130 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

“[But] Lebanon is not like Greece because in addition to the absence of a Lebanese Tsipras, Europe is not on our borders to save our domestic economy, which is on the brink of breakdown while the Arab world collapses slowly,” Jumblatt said.

SOURCE: The Daily Star

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