The newly formed Cabinet, whose creation last weekend was a welcome development for the country, must be careful not to treat its term as temporary, even if that’s what it ends up being.
With the presidential election due to be held by May, this Cabinet might only be around for three months, as a new president would oversee the creation of a fresh government. And this three-month tenure is set to be further shortened, given that the government must still draft a policy statement and win parliamentary approval. Already, ministers are engaged in the predictable back and forth over the language of the position on the “resistance” in the Cabinet statement.
However, it is imperative that all members of the government see their work not as contributing to a short-lived endeavor, but part of something with longevity. For there is no way of predicting whether the presidential election will occur on time or what the future holds for Lebanon. It is worth remembering that the Parliament of 1972 generally remainedin place until 1990 due to the outbreak of civil war.
There is no point in creating a government just for the sake of it: it is not an end in and of itself. The myriad problems facing this country, from security to electricity shortages and everything in between, are urgent enough to warrant committed efforts by all ministers in order to make progress. Now is not the time for any of them to sit back and hope that the next three months pass by without having to expend much energy. The situation in Lebanon right now demands that every day counts.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 22, 2014, on page 7.