Lebanon News

FPM goes after Mikati’s remarks on protecting his prerogatives

In this picture released by the Free Patriotic Movement media office, FPM leader Michel Aoun speaks during the weekly meeting in Rabieh, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul, HO)

BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement attacked Prime Minister Najib Mikati Tuesday, saying that his remarks on “those whom he claims ‘are infringing on the prerogatives’ of the prime minister are “full of flaws and wagering.”

But a source close to Mikati told The Daily Star that the prime minister’s remarks were made “in principle” and did not target any particular group.

A statement by Michel Aoun’s FPM said that Mikati’s remarks to the media, “in which he attacks those whom he claims ‘are infringing on the prerogatives’ of the prime minister, which he claims constitutes ‘an infringement on the rights of the Sunni sect’” are flawed.

In remarks to Grand Serail employees on the occasion of the New Year last month, Mikati vowed to confront any attempt to undercut the prime minister’s powers.

“The institution of the premiership, which is tasked with the responsibility of leading the executive authority in the country, is not and will not be an institution of a sect or confession. Rather, it is an institution for all Lebanon and for all it sects and people,” Mikati said.

“Any attempt to put it [premiership] in a narrow confessional framework is a losing attempt and will not achieve its purposes. Also, any attempt to weaken the prerogatives of the premiership, either by directly targeting the institution or by devising political precedents in or outside the Cabinet, will be absolutely rejected by those who are keen on the respect of the Constitution, with me at the forefront,” he added.

The FPM statement outlined Article 64 of the Lebanese Constitution in order “to inform the public about [the powers of the prime minister] and then to ask his Excellency several questions.” The article stipulates the prerogatives of the prime minister.

After listing the article’s items, the FPM called on Mikati to specify which item was being infringed on “and who is assaulting the rights of the Sunnis.”

“Based on items seven and eight of the article, we ask his Excellency who really exceeded his prerogatives and is infringing on the prerogatives of others?” the FPM statement said.

Item seven stipulates that the prime minister follow the work of administration and public institutions, coordinate with ministers and give necessary instructions to ensure the proper course of work.

Item eight states that the prime minster hold work sessions with relevant state authorities in the presence of the relevant minister.

A source close to Mikati told The Daily Star that the timing of the FPM statement was “surprising.” “We do not understand to whom the statement is responding,” the source said.

“Prime Minister Mikati’s remarks at the Grand Serial were made in principle and were not aimed against the Free Patriotic Movement or against any side,” he added.

“If a certain group decided that it was the target of these remarks, then it is its own business and every group has the right to express its opinion.”

Separately, Future MP Ghazi Youssef said Tuesday that the FPM was pursuing a “policy of domination” in the Cabinet, which he said undermines the Taif Accord.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 04, 2012, on page 2.

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