Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, left, speaks with Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk as they attend a Cabinet session at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Friday, May 30, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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The Cabinet agreed Friday on the broad lines of a mechanism to fill the power vacuum caused by Parliament's failure to elect a successor to former President Michel Sleiman and sought to avert a constitutional row that threatened government work.Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said consultations would be held among parliamentary blocs from now until the next Cabinet session Tuesday in an attempt to agree on a mechanism to implement the mandate granted by the Constitution to the Cabinet to exercise the president's powers during the presidential vacuum.The "positive atmosphere" that emerged during the Cabinet discussions encouraged reaching a mechanism on exercising the president's powers, he said. Salam said the Cabinet should remain intact to provide a favorable atmosphere for the presidential vote.Under the Constitution, the prime minister prepares the Cabinet agenda and informs the president, and not the ministers, of it in advance.Apparently responding to Christian ministers who want to be briefed on the agenda in advance, Salam said the Cabinet would function in line with the Constitution, which vests full executive powers, including the president's prerogatives, with the Cabinet until a new president is elected.
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