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Last chance for Lebanon
File - Prime Minister designate Tammam Salam speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Thursday, April 11, 2013. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra)
File - Prime Minister designate Tammam Salam speaks during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Baabda, Thursday, April 11, 2013. (The Daily Star/Dalati Nohra)
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The cycle of violence that Lebanon is experiencing comes as no surprise to anyone, and should be fully expected because of the lack of functioning state institutions to take responsibility for the situation on the ground.

Wednesday’s bomb blast in Beirut’s southern suburbs is merely the latest reminder that whoever wants to destabilize Lebanon can exploit the country’s sectarian divide to sow terror and even more tension and polarization.

The formation of a new government is the top priority during this critical stage, while all of the political bickering and armchair analyses are luxuries that the country can simply no longer afford.

President Michel Sleiman and Tammam Salam, the prime minister-designate, must be allowed to put into place a full-fledged executive branch of government that can shoulder the heavy burden of stabilizing the country, and allowing it to move forward.

It’s being repeated in many quarters that certain “formulas” governing the makeup of a new Cabinet will be dangerous for Lebanon’s immediate future, but the current situation of drift and paralysis has been shown to be particularly deadly.

Sleiman and Salam are perfectly aware of the dangers to national interests, and they are certainly uninterested in putting forward a government lineup that serves as a provocation to any side.

All political parties should put aside their differences and grievances and allow the president and the prime minister-designate, who received overwhelming support when he was named to the job nearly a year ago, to act.

The overriding priority is to ensure the safety and security of people in Lebanon, and a caretaker government is politically unable to handle such a responsibility.

A new government is needed to act, and if political parties are unhappy with its performance after it has begun to function, they should take their case to the people, through peaceful and democratic means.

Lebanon is deteriorating on a daily basis and no amount of wishful thinking or betting on outside developments will buy a little more time – it’s time for someone to take charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 03, 2014, on page 7.
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