BEIRUT: Lebanon's Cabinet resumed discussion on a mechanism to govern its work in the absence of a president, with ministers agreeing to abide by constitutional texts.
“The Cabinet will perform its duties according to Constitutional provisions and in a consensual framework, keeping in mind the current circumstances and the need to swiftly elect a new president,” Information Minister Ramzi Joreige told reporter at the end of a Cabinet session.
Chaired by Prime Minister Tammam Salam, ministers convened a session at the Grand Serail at around 4:30 p.m. aimed primarily at finalizing the mechanism for governing in a presidential void.
Joreige said ministers discussed Article 62 of the Constitution, which vests full executive powers, including those of the president, with the Cabinet when the presidency is vacant.
He also noted that ministers postponed their discussion to another session with an exact date to be announced later.
During the session, Salam said political disputes should remain outside the Cabinet in order to refrain from crippling the government’s work, according to Joreige.
Last week, the Cabinet agreed that the prime minister would send the agenda to the ministers 72 hours before scheduled sessions. The remaining issue is whether Cabinet decrees need the signatures of all 24 ministers, or only a third or a half of them.
Once ministers resolve this issue, the Cabinet will then move to the 24 items on its agenda.
Christian ministers, particularly those allied with the Free Patriotic Movement, have warned that they will boycott Cabinet sessions unless there is a clear mechanism to govern its work amid a presidential void.
Lebanon plunged into a presidential vacuum after former President Michel Sleiman left Baabda Palace on May 25 without a successor in light of disputes among lawmakers over a consensus candidate.
Before stepping into the session, Telecoms Minister Butros Harb said any progress in Cabinet sessions should not provide cover for those disrupting the presidential election, referring to his rivals in the FPM.