The Lebanese caretaker government’s decision to delay the start of daylight saving time by a month until the end of the month of Ramadan has sparked widespread controversy.
Christian political forces and the Maronite Patriarchate have rejected the decision, which comes amid a severe economic crisis and political divisions that have repeatedly prevented the election of a new president.
Lebanon adheres annually to the universal daylight saving time, which began yesterday, but the Council of Ministers decided to exceptionally extend winter time until 21 April.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the government announced that daylight saving time will be “exceptionally” postponed by a month this year to start at midnight on 20-21 April.
Alfa and MTC Telecom companies have asked subscribers to set the clock settings on their mobile phones manually to avoid the time changing automatically, while several institutions refused to implement the decision, including television stations.
Middle East Airlines announced it would bring forward the times of its flights by one hour in the period between 25-26 March and 20-21 April .
The Maronite Patriarchate and the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces Party, two of the most powerful Christian parties, have rejected the government’s decision.
The head of the Free Patriotic Movement Party, Gebran Bassil, said on Twitter, that “it is not permissible to remain silent about the decision, and we must think about appealing or disobeying it.”
For his part, the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea, called for a reversal of the decision, saying it will hinder many businesses, especially air traffic.