Lebanon News

France says government work should resume

French Ambassador Patrice Paoli, left, meets with Speaker Nabih Berri on Friday, June 6, 2014. (The Daily Star/Lebanese Parliament website/HO)

BEIRUT: France encourages the revival of the work of the Cabinet and Parliament, Ambassador Patrice Paoli said Friday, once again urging Lebanese lawmakers to elect a new president as soon as possible.

"I visited the speaker today to send him a message from French authorities that we support the institutions and we should encourage the revival of the work of Lebanese institutions and its effectiveness,” Paoli told reporters after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in Ain al-Tineh. “We support the election of a new president as soon as possible, and we encouraged the speaker to exert all possible efforts to elect a president and we think that the election is the priority in Lebanon today."

Paoli’s remarks come as officials struggle to keep the work of the executive and legislative branches unimpeded by the presidential vacuum, which began on May 25 after former President Michel Sleiman left Baabda Palace without a successor.

Most Christian lawmakers and all of the March 14 MPs have refused to attend Parliament sessions, arguing that the assembly should only discuss urgent matters under a presidential void. FPM ministers have said they will only attend Cabinet sessions after the government establishes a clear mechanism to govern its work in the vacuum.

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.

The Constitution vests full executive powers, including those of the presidency, with the Cabinet in the case of a presidential vacuum.





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