BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam downplayed a presidential vacuum Tuesday, saying that his government was capable of managing the country in the event a new president is not elected.
“In case of a presidential vacuum, there is no fear that power will be in the wrong hands, for it is at the heart of the Cabinet’s executive authority,” Salam said, speaking at a press conference that wrapped up his official visit to Saudi Arabia.
Salam held talks earlier with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz.
The prime minister voiced hope towards avoiding a presidential vacuum and electing a president on time. He said the presidential election was a “domestic issue par excellence,” adding that the issue has been placed on the front burner.
On Monday evening, Salam met with former Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the latter’s residence in Jeddah.
Salam told reporters that his visit to Saudi Arabia was “necessary” and described the outcome of his talks as “successful”.
Answering a question on Hezbollah’s role in Syria and the party’s fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, the prime minister said that the party, which he described as being “a partner in the government of national interest,” endorsed the Lebanese Cabinet’s policy statement which called for a disassociation policy.
He added that the government was working with Hezbollah and other groups to adopt the policy of disassociation on all levels, and will pursue effeorts in that direction.
Salam pointed to the need for international aid to help Lebanon cope with the large number of Syrian refugees, who have exceeded 1 million in number.
“This is a big burden for us all, and it will remain so if we do not receive aid,” he said.