BEIRUT: After months of political stalemate linked to the Syria crisis, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri believes that the chances of having a new Lebanese government have significantly decreased.
“Chances of having a new government by the end of the month are virtually gone,” Berri said in remarks published Friday. "Chances are receding day after day."
“Thereafter, the only talk, starting the beginning of the new year, will be presidential elections,” he told the local Al-Akhbar newspaper.
The speaker said that when Lebanon approaches the 10 days preceding the end of the mandate of President Michel Sleiman (between May 15 and May 25), Parliament will be obliged to convene to elect a new head of state.
For his part, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam reiterated that political parties were obstructing his mission to form the next government.
“I tried several times but the political forces decided they did not want to form a government or help in completing this aim,” Salam told As-Safir in comments published Friday.
“Why should I get into a confrontation with these forces? Would that be in the interest of the country?” he asked.
Salam warned that the delay in the formation could impact the upcoming presidential elections and lead to “paralysis on all levels.”
He also criticized the political groups for believing it was their prerogative to form the new Cabinet.
“The political groups, and maybe March 8 more than others, believe that governments are formed by political groups and not by the prime minister-designate, but the Constitution makes it clear that the prime minister-designate is the one who forms the government and not the political groups,” he said.
Salam also said that he visited Berri twice over the Cabinet formation “although it is not my task to visit all leaderships.”
“They either want a government or not. If I went to them, would this make them more ready to form the government?”