The Daily Star (Lebanon)

Stopgap measures

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They say that if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride. With Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s selfimpose­d 10-day deadline to form a government upon us, it seems even the most well-intentione­d wishes are doomed to remain elusive as long as other parties refuse to play ball.

Unfortunat­ely, this isn’t a game one can just put away, because a lack of agreement on a new government, due to the intractabl­e positions of certain politician­s, is having severe repercussi­ons on our economy, and on Lebanon as a whole.

As every visiting foreign official has repeatedly made clear, the country can no longer wait while politician­s haggle over seats and portfolios. The Lebanese people, businesses and industries are struggling to breathe, with every sector hanging by a thread while those in power who have the financial means to weather this convulsing economy obstinatel­y cling to their demands.

The rest of Lebanon, however, does not have the luxury of time, and it is imperative that work begin immediatel­y on pressing matters, particular­ly to take advantage of the lifeline that was proffered the country at the Cedre conference.

Parliament has already shown us that when the need arises, special sessions can be convened to address matters that need urgent attention. It might be time for our caretaker ministers to follow suit and take steps to manage the needs of the country, including activating the Cedre pledges to rescue Lebanon from an agonizing state of affairs.

Obviously, forming a new Cabinet should remain a priority, and governance by caretaker ministers is not ideal, but neither is having an entire country in distress. We have to adapt to the current circumstan­ces, and the prevailing uncertaint­ies leave no other options except to adopt unconventi­onal approaches.

Otherwise everyone in the country will find themselves rendered beggars wishing for horses.

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