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Lebanon: Small country with two clocks as of late


What time is it in Lebanon right now? There have been two answers since the night. A government-ordered postponement of the start of daylight saving time sparked chaos. The media, schools and companies are boycotting the decision.

Due to a political dispute about the changeover to daylight saving time, two times are now in parallel in Lebanon. The background is a controversial decision by the acting Prime Minister Najib Mikati to allow the clocks in the Mediterranean country to change for four weeks.

The Maronite Church then announced on Saturday evening that it would oppose the decision. She called for the clocks to be put forward one hour on Sunday night, as in most European countries. TV stations MTV and LBCI, other media and Catholic schools also changed their clocks. Public institutions are officially bound by the government’s decision. In the morning, the Lebanese woke up to a lot of confusion with two times in effect.

It is assumed that Mikati wanted to score with the step with Muslims, for whom the fasting month of Ramadan has begun. Until the time change, they can break their fast at around 6 p.m. instead of around 7 p.m. A video of Mikati discussing the move with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has surfaced on the Internet. Lebanon is religiously divided.

chaos at the airport

Confusion is likely to arise, especially among air travelers. The state airline Middle East Airlines (MEA) followed Mikati’s step and published a table with departure times brought forward by one hour. The airline apparently wants to remain in the international flight schedule and enable connecting flights without travelers having to start their flights in a different time zone than the officially applicable one.

At the airport in Beirut, airlines advanced departures by an hour.


A video circulated on Twitter of two clocks showing two times next to each other at Beirut airport. “The chaos is in full swing as we try to find out when our Monday appointments will take place,” tweeted the head of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s Beirut office, Anna Fleischer.

The airline Middle East Airlines managed to bring all departure times from Beirut forward by one hour. The country’s two major mobile phone companies asked their customers to change the time themselves if they wished. However, on many cell phones, the time automatically advances one hour.

The joke made the rounds on social media that in Lebanon you now have to make an appointment with the addition of “Muslim time” or “Christian time”. Author Kim Ghattas wrote that the chaos would be comical if it weren’t another sign of “a total failure at all levels of political leadership”.

economic crisis in the country

Lebanon is currently stuck in one of the worst economic crises in its history. For months without a president and Mikati’s caretaker government, the country has only been able to act to a limited extent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently declared that the country is at a “very dangerous crossroads”.