BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Cabinet approves governing mechanism without president

Prime Minister Tammam Salam leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Thursday, June 19, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The Cabinet approved Thursday a mechanism to govern its work in light of the presidential void, as Prime Minister Tammam Salam stressed that all government decisions would be consensus based.

Speaking after chairing the session at the Grand Serail, Salam said that none of the Cabinet’s decisions would be put to vote, but all should win unanimous backing by all government parties.

“We cannot address this difficult phase except through consensus. We will put aside any issue that does not win consensus. Every issue should win the consensus of all Cabinet parties,” Salam said.

“We looked into the agenda today. We put aside items which did not win consensus and passed those that garnered agreement,” the prime minister continued.

Salam said that the session’s agenda would be distributed to ministers 96 hours ahead of the session’s scheduled time.

“This will give the ministers enough time to study the agenda and discuss it,” he said.

Under normal conditions, ministers used to receive the agenda 48 hours before the session date.

Salam said that in case a Cabinet party demanded more time to study a certain item, he would propose the request in the upcoming Cabinet session.

“If all Cabinet members agree on postponing it [the item] to another session, then this will happen,” Salam said, adding that disputed items would be put aside.

The prime minister said that representatives of all blocs in the government would sign Cabinet decrees.

“At least one minister representing each political party in the national unity government will sign the decrees,” Salam said. “Whoever will be attending the session on behalf of a certain political bloc can sign the decrees.”

Lebanon has plunged into presidential vacuum on May 25, when the term of President Michel Sleiman expired. Parliament has failed for seven times to elect a successor.

Commenting on the security situation, Salam said that the government would continue to take all the measures required to preserve security in the country.

A suicide bomber blew himself up in his hotel room Wednesday to avoid arrest during a raid by General Security personnel. Twelve people were wounded in the explosion.

Authorities arrested another potential bomber who was in the same room. Security sources said both were Saudis.

The explosion came two days after a suicide bomber killed a General Security sergeant in the Beirut southern suburb of Tayyouneh. Also last Friday, a man driving a car detonated himself at an Internal Security Forces checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus road, killing an ISF officer.

Salam urged media outlets to be careful when covering such security events.

“Confronting terrorism requires high levels of secrecy and media leaks should not be considered a great victory,” Salam said.

 

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