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Arslan: Fait accompli Cabinet would count as coup
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan in Beirut on Saturday, May 25, 2013. (The Daily Star/HO)
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, right, receives Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan in Beirut on Saturday, May 25, 2013. (The Daily Star/HO)
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BEIRUT: Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan Saturday criticized President Michel Sleiman, accusing the head of state of seeking to form a fait accompli government, and warned that such a move would be unconstitutional and count as a coup.

“The first thing that comes to mind at this sensitive stage, when threats of forming a fait accompli Cabinet are being resorted to by the head of the constitutional authority and the one seeking refuge in the seat of the presidency, is the slogan by the late Prime Minister Saeb Salam: ‘One Lebanon, and not two,’” Arslan, addressing Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, said.

Arslan said history had shown fait accompli governments in Lebanon only led to disastrous results and argued that following the Taif Accord, Lebanon’s amended Constitution, they were unconstitutional as they violated the preamble of the document which stresses the need for co-existence.

“It is a constitutional principle and any departure from it would represent a clear coup to the Constitution and the Lebanese,” he said.

“I repeat, it is a constitutional principle and any departure from it would be a veritable coup, in all the senses and implications that the term coup carries,” he added.

Salam, whose efforts to form a Cabinet have been stalled for more than eight months, recently said a fait accompli Cabinet would be constitutional and become a caretaker government if it failed to win a vote of confidence in Parliament.

Arslan’s comments come a day after Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah warned that the formation of a fait accompli Cabinet was unacceptable to his party.

"I do not advise anyone to take the initiative and form a fait accompli Cabinet," Nasrallah said during a televised speech.

"The alternative to paralysis is a national government," the Hezbollah chief said.

Arslan, a member in the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance, warned that the formation of a fait accompli government would “not pass.”

“The coup will not pass, not by us or Lebanon and I have full confidence that you [Salam] are not one to take part in a coup on the Constitution,” he said.

“I do not think that you [Salam] would be satisfied heading a government formed and ruled by the law of the jungle,” Arslan said.

“Lebanon cannot tolerate any further adventures and requires at this delicate political time a government of national unity that joins all the Lebanese and eases the repercussions from the current regional conflict on the domestic situation,” he said.

“We should free ourselves from any foreign influence and focus on what is truly in the interest of Lebanon and the Lebanese,” he said.

Arslan urged Salam to break the ice between the rival political groups and hold consultations with parliamentary blocs to end the political impasse.

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