It’s time for Lebanon’s PM to turn the tables

The Lebanese government headed by Tammam Salam must admit that it has been negligent in regards to the garbage crisis

Nayla Tueni
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The Lebanese government headed by Tammam Salam must admit that it has been negligent in regards to the garbage crisis. The garbage crisis comes as no surprise as everyone knew that the Naameh landfill, where Beirut’s rubbish was typically stored, would be shut down. Everyone also knew that the waste management company Sukleen’s contract in Beirut has ended without any alternative. Excuses of obstructing governmental work in order for the country to sink in garbage is also not acceptable as obstruction nothing new. The country has actually become used to it, especially since the Taif Agreement.

Meanwhile, politicians and parties cannot point fingers at the government and say it failed as most ministers have failed to address affairs related to electricity, healthcare, education, social security, public transportation, traffic and agriculture among others. Ministers forget all about their failure and then assume responsibility in a different ministry thinking they can just turn the page and start afresh. They are oblivious to the fact that governance is about permanence and that failure is the resumption of a failed approach that results in nothing but destruction.

The garbage issue

Nothing justifies the failure to address the garbage issue and the ensuing chaos. Last Sunday, the situation almost took a turn for the worse as people set garbage on fire and blocked roads, reflecting the frustrations felt in Lebanon.


There have been statements on the resignation of the prime minister due to the obstruction policy adopted by the Free Patriotic Movement aided by Hezbollah. Some sources close to the prime minister said he would resign “at the right time.” However this must not happen as the country is sinking in livelihood-related crises. Salam’s resignation will be perceived as an evasion of responsibility, and this is not something we have come to expect from Salam.

All that is left of the state now is the “government of national interest” whose members, despite their disagreements, are still aware of its vital necessity. There are pressures on the prime minister to force him to make concessions, however, they are incapable of toppling the government and this serves the prime minister’s interest as he can turn the tables and alter the rules of the game.

This article was first published in al-Nahar on Thursday July 30, 2015.


Nayla Tueni is one of the few elected female politicians in Lebanon and of the two youngest. She became a member of parliament in 2009 and following the assassination of her father, Gebran, she is currently a member of the board and Deputy General Manager of Lebanon’s leading daily, Annahar. Prior to her political career, Nayla had trained, written in and managed various sections of Annahar, where she currently has a regular column. She can be followed on Twitter @NaylaTueni

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