BEIRUT: Two former presidents, along with seven Cabinet ministers, held their second meeting Wednesday in consultations aimed at facilitating the election of a president.
Former President Amine Gemayel’s hosted the meeting at his residence in Sin el-Fil and participants included: former president Michel Sleiman, Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi, Information Minister Ramzi Joreige, Defense Minister Samir Moqbel, Minister for the Displaced Alice Shabtini, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul-Mutalleb al-Hinawi, Economy Minister Alain Hakim and Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb.
Also at the meeting was former Cabinet minister Khalil Hrawi and Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel.
“Our aim is to accelerate the election of a president and at the same time continue the government's momentum,” Kataeb Party leader Amine Gemayel told reporters following the meeting.
A joint statement read by Gemayel said the participants "stressed their keenness to ensure the continuity of the government .... and supporting the government’s policy toward the citizens’ day-to-day concerns until the election of a president."
The statement also affirmed "their support for all measures taken by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.”
However, the group voiced its rejection to a change in the Cabinet's decision-making mechanism, saying it should serve only in a caretaker capacity until a new president is elected.
A similar gathering was held last week at Sleiman’s residence in Yarze.
Information Minister Joreige had told reporters before today's meeting that the talks aimed to break the political deadlock over electing a Lebanon president and was not designed to establish a “new ministerial alliance.”
Lebanon has been without a president since Sleiman’s term ended in May with lawmakers failing to elect a successor due to lack of consensus.