BEIRUT: Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam should hold a new round of consultations with parliamentary blocs as part of the Cabinet formation process that has been deadlocked for months, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said in remarks published Thursday.
In his interview with Al-Akhbar newspaper, Aoun also said the presidential election race had started.
“The prime minister-designate can call for a new round of parliamentary consultations,” Aoun said.
“We have visited him once, twice ... If he wants to make a new suggestion, he should hold a new round of talks or call for new consultations in Parliament.”
Aoun said that Salam should not limit his consultations over the Cabinet formation to talks with President Michel Sleiman but expand discussions and hold consultations with MPs.
Salam was tasked with forming the new government in April but his mission has been obstructed by conditions and counter conditions from the rival March 8 and March 14 political camps.
Aoun also addressed the presidential election due next year and said that nothing should come in the way of electing a new president.
“We can elect a president even if the government has still not been formed, the urgent matter is the presidential election and they cannot be obstructed,” he said.
Sleiman's six-year term ends in May 2014. The president has repeatedly stressed that he rejects any extension of his mandate.
Aoun, who has reportedly coveted the post of president since his return to the country in 2005, also said that it had not been settled whether he would run as a candidate for the new presidential election.
“We still don't know who the candidates are. My name is being mentioned but I can't say that I am a candidate,” he said.