BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam said in remarks published Saturday a fait accompli Cabinet is constitutional and becomes a caretaker government if it fails to garner a majority of Parliament’s vote of confidence.
Salam, whose comments come amid a fierce attack by the March 8 coalition against any attempts to form a fait accompli Cabinet, also said he was still open to communication with all parties.
“When a government is formed, it becomes constitutional given that it is formed with the president’s signatures on decrees accepting the former Cabinet's resignation, the designation [of a new PM] decree, the decree to form a government and the ministerial lineup,” Salam told Al-Joumhouria.
“After the president signs the decrees, the Cabinet lineup is then referred to Parliament for a vote of confidence,” he added.
If the lineup fails to secure a parliamentary majority, the Cabinet would automatically become a caretaker government, Salam said.
“If it is granted the vote, then it will take on its normal path,” he noted.
Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah have slammed as “dangerous” any attempt to form a fait accompli Cabinet after media reports indicated that President Michel Sleiman and the PM-designate could form a government without the approval of rival groups.
Sleiman has not yet publicly voiced support for such a Cabinet.
Berri reiterated in remarks earlier this week his support for a Cabinet lineup that grants rival coalitions veto power, the so-called 9-9-6 government formula, saying it was the only choice to break the eight-month Cabinet deadlock.
Salam has been struggling since his designation in April to form a Cabinet in light of conditions and counter conditions put forward by the March 8 and the March 14 groups.
The March 8 have called for the formation of a Cabinet in which all parties are represented according to their parliamentary weight while the March 14 said they would not join a new government until Hezbollah withdraws from Syria, insisting on a non-partisan ministerial lineup.
Speaking to the local daily, Salam said demands of a neutral Cabinet or a political one are “merely political talk” given that the Constitution grants any new Cabinet legality once the president signs the decree of its formation.
“The absence of a confidence vote would then lead to consultations for a new Cabinet while the current one becomes a caretaker government,” he said.
"I am still open to communication with everyone but they have to decide whether they want to achieve either their own interest or the interest of the nation,” he added.