BEIRUT: Health Minister Wael Abu Faour said Tuesday that his party sought qualified deans in the Lebanese University council, justifying its abstaining from approving the LU decree and urging the prime minister to convene Cabinet.
“The Lebanese University decree is an item on the agenda and what we proposed, as the National Struggle Front bloc, is concerned with qualifications and not a political purpose,” Abu Faour told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail.
“We can differ on the issue, and we were not the only ones who objected to some of the decree’s items.”
Salam had said he would refrain from calling for a Cabinet session due to lingering differences among ministers over key issues, such as extra-budgetary spending and the LU contract professors.
The Cabinet postponed discussion on the long-awaited LU decree, which includes two vital items – employing contract professors as full-timers and appointing deans to the university council.
The Cabinet had initially approved giving full-time status to the LU contract professors. But several ministers refused to finalize the professors’ status without approving the appointment of new deans at the university, saying it was a package deal.
According to a new governing mechanism in light of a presidential void, any decree requires the approval of all 24 ministers.
Speaking to reporters, Abu Faour said neither his party nor any other political group sought to disrupt the Cabinet’s work.
“This issue should not prevent the Cabinet from convening. This is our opinion and we informed the prime minister of it but he has the final say,” he said.
He said MP Walid Jumblatt, head of the bloc as well as the Progressive Socialist Party, was ready to work on any initiative to support the work of the prime minister
“We’re not proposing a Druze figure in place of a Christian, but the dean of the Medical College has been in the position for six years and has improved it. He is qualified, and we want to be fair to such qualifications.”
During the Cabinet session last week, the Kataeb Party said appointing a dean of the Medical College was a Christian prerogative, proposing the name of a group figure to replace the current one, Pierre Yared.