Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister reversed an unpopular decision made by his office to delay the start of daylight saving time by a month, saying Monday the Cabinet decided to implement the change in two days.
Najib Mikati’s comments came after the government’s initial decision earlier this month was widely criticized around the country with many, including the country’s largest church, saying they will not abide by the decision.
“The new daylight saving time will start at midnight Wednesday,” Mikati said after a Cabinet meeting that only discussed the issue.
With some institutions implementing the change while others refused, many Lebanese found themselves in the position of juggling work and school schedules in different time zones — in a country that is just 88 kilometers (55 miles) at its widest point.
Last week, the government said it will delay the start of daylight saving time by a month until the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. That led to mass confusion in a country already experiencing the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history.
In some cases, the debate took on a sectarian nature, with many Christian politicians and institutions, including the small nation’s largest church, the Maronite Church, rejecting the move.
The small Mediterranean country normally sets its clocks forward an hour on the last Sunday in March, which aligns with most European countries. However, on Thursday, the government announced a decision by Mikati to push the start of daylight saving to April 21.