Hasbani and Machnouk arrive in Baabda, Monday, May 21, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Despite the name, therefore, the deputy prime minister has no power to stand in for the prime minister, except possibly under very specific and limited circumstances.The dispute began in earnest in late June, when Aoun, founder of the Free Patriotic Movement, claimed it was the president's right to choose the deputy premier, citing post-Taif precedent.That precedent cuts both ways, argues Ghassan Hasbani, the current caretaker deputy premier and a member of the LF. He points to Fouad Siniora's government of 2008, in which Issam Abu Jamra was appointed deputy prime minister as part of the FPM's share, not that of then-President Michel Sleiman.Second, the deputy premier sits next to the prime minister during Cabinet meetings – a minor but an important perk.
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