BEIRUT: Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said Monday that the Future Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement were in agreement on the work mechanism of the Cabinet in light of a presidential void.
“We assured there is no dispute [with the FPM] on the mechanism of Cabinet’s work in light of presidential void,” the minister said, after a rare visit to FPM leader MP Michel Aoun's residence in Rabieh.
“There is insistence from our side and an understanding with Gen. Aoun that the constitutional institutions maintain their work,” he added. “In my opinion, both Parliament and Cabinet should address all affairs concerning the people while there is a second opinion that stresses the need to work only on strategic issues."
The minister said the two also addressed administrative appointments, stalled over reservations from Aoun, and the need to implement them.
The minister’s comments come after Cabinet failed for the third time earlier this week to agree on a mechanism to exercise its full executive powers, including the president’s prerogatives, amid the vacuum in the country’s top Christian post.
The ministers remain at odds over whether Cabinet decrees need the signatures of all 24 members.
Ministers from Aoun’s bloc, backed by Hezbollah’s ministers, demand that the Cabinet decrees be signed by all the ministers, while ministers from the March 14 coalition and the Future Movement insist that the decisions should be passed by a two-thirds vote.
Machnouk, whose Future Movement recently embarked on an openness policy with the FPM, said that he did not carry any message on behalf of his group to the FPM leader.
“I did not come here carrying any message, although I am the representative of the Future Movement in Cabinet,” he said.
The official said that dialogue between the Future and Aoun was “ongoing and would not stop.”
“This dialogue has also achieved a lot of positive points including Cabinet stability and political stability in the country,” he said.
As for the presidential stalemate, Machnouk said “the presidential election needs more discussions between rivals to elect a consensus president.”