BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour Sunday condemned the timing of MP Michel Aoun’s suggestion for direct presidential elections, stressing the absence of any real efforts toward resolving the matter.
“I do not think that the suggestion for a direct popular election of the president could mature during a phase of presidential vacuum,” he said. “It is the time for MPs to elect, not to amend the Constitution.”
“We cannot move to a new political system simply because of suggestion by one political party,” he added in comments he gave after visiting the reconstruction works of Kherbet Qanafar’s government hospital in the Western Bekaa.
The member of Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt’s bloc said that Aoun’s proposal suggested the modification of Taif, the accord that ended the 15-year Civil War in 1989 by creating a power-sharing system in Lebanon.
“We as the Democratic Gathering [parliamentary bloc] support the Taif agreement,” he said. “Any attempt to sideline Taif could lead the country into huge constitutional, political and security shafts.”
MP Michel Aoun, a main actor in the later years of the Civil War, was among the few political leaders opposing the agreement.
Abu Faour also condemned “the absence of any real debate concerning the presidential elections."
“There are no political negotiations or discussions aiming to open the door for agreement,” he said.
The efforts are in reality dedicated, according to Abu Faour, to operating the constitutional institutions during the presidential void.
“The decision is in the hands of the Lebanese, therefore the Lebanese political parties are responsible for delaying the presidential elections,” he said.
Separately, Abu Faour promised Western Bekaa’s residents to launch Kherbet Qanafar’s hospital in three months. He explained that the hospital was provided with LL1 billion as an annual budget, and LL675 million for operation costs.
The rehabilitation project is managed by the Health Ministry and the Development and Construction Council and implemented by a “respected company,” Abu Faour added.
“The Western Bekaa qada is among the very few qadas that does not have a [public] hospital, and this is shows great prejudice and injustice against the region’s people.
He hoped that through this project, “we would be paying some of our dues toward the residents of this area.”