BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun Tuesday criticized once more Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, accusing him of using unconstitutional practices which he said were obstructing the formation of a new government.
Aoun, during a news conference, also reiterated his opposition to the principle of rotating ministerial portfolios, saying the Future Movement demand for joining an all-embracing Cabinet could have an underlying objective of delaying the presidential election scheduled later this year.
“The danger in the Cabinet formation process lies in the fact that its consultations eliminated the presence of the largest Christian parliamentary bloc,” Aoun said after his weekly meeting with his Change and Reform parliamentary bloc.
"It became clear to us when we opposed this deliberate error that the deal to form a Cabinet was made between certain officials and the prime minister-designate and we had no choice ... as if they're bidding farewell to national partnership,” he added.
He said the Constitution stipulated that the prime minister-designate should hold parliamentary consultations in order to form a new government that Aoun said should equally represent all sects.
“The [current] practices have nothing to do with constitutional principles or norms that were established during previous Cabinet formation efforts ... [the present] behavior should be rejected outright to prevent setting a precedent,” Aoun said.
Aoun said the formation process was supposed to be a continuous one with the aim of forming the new Cabinet. Salam, Aoun alleged, had violated such a constitutional principle.
"[Salam] abstained from communicating with the parliamentary blocs concerned with forming a government,” he said.
“Therefore, it is obvious that the person who is placing obstacles is the one violating the National Pact, the Constitution and norms,” Aoun said.
“[The concept of] an all-embracing Cabinet contradicts political targeting which amounts to exclusion,” he said.
Aoun, who wields the second largest political bloc in Parliament, also questioned the reasons behind the conditions for a new government set by the Salam and “his party.”
Arguing that the rotation of ministerial portfolios was not a norm in establishing governments, Aoun said: “such a condition was political par excellence, multifaceted and is seen as means to disrupt and target a certain group.”
“[Things] became more complicated after the prime minister-designate held on to it [the condition] when his party [the Future Movement] called for it,” he said.
He also said that rotating ministerial portfolios based on party and sect would only obstruct the “productive and continuous” work of ministries given that Salam’s government would only last a few months until the presidential election scheduled to begin on March 25.
“But if the aim of forming a government is to do away with the presidential election, which means preparations to introduce paralysis in that post, then this is more dangerous and its consequences are grave,” he said.
“Beware of messing with national principles during a critical and dangerous stage in the life of our one nation,” he warned.