BEIRUT: The extension of President Michel Sleiman’s term will be inevitable in the event a new Cabinet fails to materialize before the Lebanese leader’s mandate expires, caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said in remarks published Friday.
“The extension of Sleiman’s term is inevitable, whether he will agree on it or not ... it will definitely happen if a new Cabinet is not formed prior to the end of the president’s term,” Charbel told Al-Akhbar.
Charbel said that “the extension is bad but vacuum in the post of president would be even worse and have negative repercussions on the country.”
Sleiman’s mandate expires in May 2014. The president has repeatedly voiced opposition to an extension to his term, vowing to challenge any such move by Parliament.
“Ultimately, the president will find himself obliged to agree on his extension in order to spare the country from being further plunged into the [Lebanese] crisis,” Charbel, who is close to Sleiman, said.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt, in comments to As-Safir newspaper, voiced opposition to any possible extension to Sleiman’s mandate and said he would prefer the next to occupy the post of president not come from the military.
He also said that the next president should be "consensual" and not affiliated with either the March 8 or March 14 rival camps.