Grand Serail Officials Pessimistic on Solution to Controversial Issues

Officials at the Grand Serail have warned that the government would not be able to resolve major controversial issues over lack of harmony among its members.

“Delusional are those who think that this cabinet will resolve big differences,” the officials, who were not identified, told al-Joumhouria daily published on Friday.

“Everybody knows that it is not homogenous,” they said.

The officials described it as the cabinet of “bickering political parties,” but said its mission is to run the affairs of the people and the state, which doubled after the end of President Michel Suleiman's term.

The cabinet crisis grew earlier this month over accusations by the Free Patriotic Movement of MP Michel Aoun that Prime Minister Tammam Salam is infringing on the powers of the Christian president.

The cabinet assumed the head of state's executive powers after the end of Michel Suleiman's term in May last year. But the FPM is now demanding changes to its working mechanism, saying its ministers should have a say in setting the agenda of the cabinet by claiming that they represent the president in his absence.

The cabinet discussed the decision-making mechanism on Thursday but failed to reach a decision. The issue was adjourned for discussion next Tuesday.

Salam has reportedly hinted that he would resign if the government was unable to reach an agreement on the mechanism.

Sources close to him told the Kuwaiti al-Seyassah daily that his resignation was an option but he would not take such action under these difficult circumstances.

However, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat said that a number of officials, mainly ex-PM Saad Hariri, had contacted Salam and urged him to slow down any step that would “aggravate the vacuum at the state's institutions, and to give contacts among officials a chance.”



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