Lebanese Get By with a Paralyzed Government

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Its been almost a week since Lebanon's president Emile Lahoud stepped down after completing his term in office. Lebanon remains without a head of state because the country's divided political elite has yet to agree on a successor.

It could take some time before the political power vacuum is filled. Rather than offer concessions to each other, the Western- and Iran/Syria-backed factions of Lebanon's political elite seem content to see another branch of the Lebanese state paralyzed.

There are fears that the vacuum could lead to clashes in the streets. But for now, downtown Beirut echoes with the sounds of construction, not violence, as many Lebanese try their best to ignore the political crisis.

Suzie Nasr, an interior decorator, has nothing but disgust for the squabbling politicians, who she says are cut off from reality: "They are like on planet Zorg or Mars, and we're on another planet."



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