Cabinet Expected to Meet Next Week as Salam Seeks to Resolve Disputes

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Prime Minister Tammam Salam is expected to call for a cabinet session next week if his consultations with the factions represented in the government led to a deal on the mechanism they would adopt to exercise full executive powers, officials said.

The officials, who are close to Salam, told al-Mustaqbal newspaper published on Thursday that a session was not held this week because of lack of agreement on the mechanism and the PM's planned trip to Kuwait over the weekend.

The members of the cabinet from both the March 8 and 14 alliances have so far failed to agree on a methodology they should adopt in conducting the government’s affairs.

They remain divided on how to exercise full executive powers, including the president’s prerogatives, in the absence of a head of state.

Salam could invite for a session next week “if the contacts succeeded in resolving the mechanism issue,” the officials said.

Meanwhile, An Nahar daily said that a series of conversations that Salam held with the involved officials have made progress.

But the prime minister was still awaiting the final answers of the Amal, Hizbullah and Free Patriotic Movement ministers on several proposals made to agree on the methodology.

Salam held telephone conversations with al-Mustaqbal bloc leader MP Fouad Saniora and met with Kataeb Minister Sejaan Qazzi, Amal and Hizbullah Ministers respectively Ali Hassan Khalil and Mohammed Fneish, and Minister Jebran Bassil, who is an FPM member.

Last Thursday, the cabinet held its third session after the expiry of President Michel Suleiman's term in May 25 but failed to agree whether decrees need the signatures of all 24 members.

There are fears that the vacuum at Baabda Palace and the boycott of parliamentary sessions on the public sector wage scale would lead to the paralysis of the government.



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