The Economic Challenge: There Remains a Chance

The Foremost end of this last government reshuffle was met; it defused the crisis with the House of Representatives, who were insistent on moving to vote on withdrawing confidence in Interior Minister Salameh Hammad. For the Prime Minister, Dr Hani Mulqi, himself, another goal was achieved; only months into his presidency, he was able to construct a clearer view on his team, which would now allow him the chance to readdress on his errs.

Meanwhile, the addition to Mulqi’s government do carry added value to the Cabinet, and will certainly help the premier carry out some difficult tasks. The minister second in command, Dr Mamdouh Abbadi, given his parliamentary, unionist, and political expertise is indeed a plus, and could massive improve the Cabinet’s relationship with the MPs.

Likewise is the assignment of media figure and politician Ayman Safadi, whose versatile expertise will also support Mulqi in the completion of several important missions. And more importantly, the not-so-subtle discord between the Premier and the Foreign Minister, Nasser Joudeh, is no longer a secret. This also closed a chapter of criticism on Joudeh’s long stay in the Foreign Ministry.

Former Foreign Minister Bisher Khasawneh’s reassignment as Minister of Legal Affairs at the Prime Ministry also concludes Mulqi’s desire to establish an independent Foreign Affairs Ministry, given the damage it incurred on the Ministry, for the discrete ministries to be reunited under the administration Safadi.

 Khasawneh’s expertise in the legal field would address on of the government’s weakness in the current government.

No less ground breaking than Joudeh’s relief of his role, 8 years into the office, is the assignment of Dr Omar Razzaz as Minister of Education. What is shocking is the fact that Razzaz is an economist, assigned to carry out the tasks related to education, which in no way lessens the liberalist’s ability to carry it through, as difficult and complex as it is.

Given Razzaz’s balanced personality and wisdom, his assignment does not seem like an uncalculated adventure.

It also confirms that there are real sincere intentions to address the catastrophic shortcoming of our deteriorating public education, particularly the declining performance of students and the superficiality of their knowledge.

Razzaz’s task is not small; the attack on him began the moment he was named minister. To some people, who feel threatened by the variety, the best defence is offence.

Virtual and social media activists waited not a single minute to launch their attack by publishing pictures of the Minister with his daughter, ordinary pictures; mind you, but as “ordinary” as some people would have them be, because it did not stop them from insulting, defaming, and violating the privacy of the man’s family.

Once again, attackers began manipulating people’s feelings and preying on the public’s religious sentiment to incite resistance to the curriculum reforms project; the very people who want to remain in control of the curriculums even though their failure couldn’t be any more obvious than the out puts of the education process.

That said, the liberalist faces a grinding battle, but it is as strategic as it is decisive to our generations’ future; our children who undergo the education process today.

More so, the fact that Razzaz was appointed Minister of Education does not mean that the Cabinet will not make use of his economic knowledge and expertise, along with the qualifications of other ministers, like the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources.

The reshuffle may not all-encompassing in terms of width and vastness; these new assignments however will be in the sense that a new dynamic is possibly imminent, which will see a Cabinet-wide cooperation on a variety of courses.

It is vital that ministers like Razzaz, Ibrahim Saif, and others be present alongside political ministers who realise the real social implications of public economic police, like Safadi. Putting together a real economic crew capable of devising a recipe that would substitute our reliance on partial solutions with fundamental structural solutions to our economic challenge; there remains it seems, a chance.

Eventually, these new ministers accumulate added value to the government. But they are not the guarantee for Mulqi’s government to endure its time in office; the success of the premier’s cabinet would depend primarily on the Prime Minister’s ability to devise unconventional solutions to administrating the public affair, and his capability to innovate creative policies to tackle our problems. Because the worthless, typical short-sightedness does not suffice.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.

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