The presidential void threatens the Cabinet with sectarian rhetoric
Lebanon is without a president for the seventh day and there are no foreign or local initiatives to end the impasse. The political-presidential discussion between MP Michel Aoun and former PM Saad Hariri has not yet produced anything concrete, while Speaker Nabih Berri is currently on a European trip.
However Prime Minister Tammam Salam was able to pass the first test of the “presidential void season,” bringing the government together at the Grand Serail for their first executive session post Sleiman. Despite this success however, the result of the session was a lack of agreement between ministers incapable of reaching consensus over the government’s prerogatives.
Meanwhile MP Walid Jumblatt is preparing to embark on a trip to Paris to meet Hariri and test his "centrist" bridge, after Aoun almost brought it down with his talk of a "Trinity" between him, Hariri and Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.
What is clear is that the interests of the Lebanese is not the priority on the agenda of the political class, otherwise they would have looked at things differently.
A careful departure of Cabinet with the presidency’s full prerogative
The first Cabinet session since May 25 reflected complications that will accompany the next phase of the government, adapting to the fact that it will have to fill the void.
An-Nahar has learned that the session was "political and discussed the Constitution," and that Salam began the session with a national statement.
The ministers also discussed the large turnout of Syrians in Lebanon who headed to their embassy to vote in their presidential elections, in a move that seemed like a protest and which some Lebanese viewed as provocative. The ministers called for precautionary measures incase President Bashar Assad wins.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk said during the session that the traffic jams in several areas was the result of measures taken by security forces to prevent the possible entry of car bombs.
The Cabinet passes the test of paralysis
The Cabinet's first session indicated that the compromise which led to the formation of the government was still standing, with the presidential stalemate and the void not affecting the work of the government. Consensus is not only sought locally but also enjoys international, Arab and regional support.
Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi told Al-Joumhouria that the ministers discussed the sight of Syrians voting, stressing the need for security forces to take the necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such an event, particularly if President Bashar Assad wins the polls.
"The scene is something we reject. It was as if the Syrian regime was sending a message to the international community that it, despite withdrawing from Lebanon in 2005, still has a million and half Syrians in Lebanon and can influence the Lebanese street," Azzi said.