BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam Thursday hoped that the presidential void will not be a long one and urged various political groups to shoulder responsibility to elect a new head of state as soon as possible.
Salam spoke at the beginning of a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail that finalized several appointments, hours after parliament failed to hold a session to elect a president for lack of the required two-thirds quorum. The premiere warned that an extended void in the presidency would have detrimental effects on the country.
The Cabinet convened with 100 items on its agenda. Ministers will meet again on Friday at the Baabda presidential palace. Friday's session will be the last one to be chaired by President Michel Sleiman whose mandate expires on May 25.
The departing president is expected to hold a farewell dinner banquet to the ministers and their spouses afterwards at the Baabda palace.
Speaking to reporters during a break, Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi said there was a high probability that Friday's Cabinet session will examine the state of Syria refugees in Lebanon and the option of building refugee camps along the borders between Lebanon and Syria. Cabinet will discuss a full report drafted by the ministerial committee tasked with looking into the Syrian refugees file, according to Azzi.
Although Thursday's Cabinet session is expected to a extend until late in the night, due to the multitude of issues on the table, as noted by Minister of the Dispalced Alice Shabtini; ministers succeeded in approving a fresh batch of administrative appointments.
Cabinet appointed Susan al-Khoury Youhanna as the director general of the Directorate of Personal Status, Omar Hamzeh was appointed Director General of Municipalities, and Hoda Salloum will head the Traffic and Vehicles Management authority.
The Cabinet also appointed a new executive council for the Rafik Hariri Beirut Governmental Hospital, which in recent years has been mired in corruption and mismanagement.
Ministers also allotted a sum of $18 million for the construction of the Tannourine road in the Batroun area as well as $6 million for the Ihmij-La’lou' road in the mountainous region of Jbeil .