BEIRUT: A majority of Lebanese believe the new government lineup is passable but remain skeptical over the Cabinet’s ability to address key challenges facing the country, including the deteriorating security situation, according to a poll commissioned by a local daily and published Tuesday.
According the study published in As-Safir, only 28 percent of respondents thought the new Cabinet lineup was “excellent,” with the bulk either responding with “OK” (36 percent) or “bad” (21 percent). The remaining participants either failed to give a response (2 percent) or answered “I don’t know.”
The poll by ARA Research & Consultancy in collaboration with As-Safir was conducted between Feb. 20 and Feb 27 and surveyed the views of 500 Lebanese from various sects, regions and age-groups.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam formed his 24-member Cabinet of “national interest” on Feb. 15, bringing together figures from the country’s rival political groups after 10 months of political deadlock.
Despite the seemingly lukewarm views on the current Cabinet makeup, the vast majority of those surveyed believed Salam’s government would win a vote of confidence.
The participants also voiced pessimism on whether the new Cabinet would be able to improve the security situation in the country or launch oil and gas tenders.
With regard to the former, 33 percent said they thought the Cabinet would fail to end the increasing violence compared to 18 percent who were of the opposite opinion. The majority said they “slightly agreed” that the Cabinet would be able to put an end to the violence (32 percent) versus those who “slightly disagreed” (9 percent).
Nearly twice as many said they believed the Cabinet would fail to launch oil and gas tenders compared to those who thought it would succeed (40 percent versus 21 percent). Twenty-one percent also said they “slightly agreed” that the Cabinet would succeed while 8 percent held the opposite view.
A majority of respondents also believed Salam’s Cabinet would fail to ratify contracts for electricity projects. Forty percent said they did not think the Cabinet would succeed compared to 16 percent who said it would. Twenty-eight percent “slightly agreed” that the Cabinet would succeed versus 8 percent who said the opposite.
Lebanon has endemic power cuts, with power rationing throughout the country.
The only subject where respondents felt the government might succeed was the approval of a new parliamentary electoral law.
Thirty percent said they “slightly agreed” the government could do the job, followed by 29 percent who were certain the Cabinet could approve the law. Twenty-two were certain the government would fail in the task, followed by 7 percent who thought it likely.
On the topic of the upcoming presidential election, most of the respondents were also optimistic that the polls would be held on time. Sixty-four percent believed the crucial election would take place and 79 percent said they thought a consensus candidate would be elected as the country’s new president.