Salam Losing Patience over Cabinet Power Row

A row in the cabinet over a mechanism regulating the government’s work during the ongoing presidential vacuum caused Prime Minister Tammam Salam to express irritation, stressing that it would tarnish the image of the executive authority.

“I am a very patient person but am also clear. I will hold onto the implementation of the constitution,” Salam said, according to media reports published on Wednesday.

As Safir newspaper reported that the premier “will not endure any longer the abnormal situation,” pointing out that he is keen to resolve the dispute during the upcoming cabinet session.

“He will take a firm decision if solutions were out of reach,” the report continued.

Tuesday's cabinet session failed anew to resolve the dispute among the political arch-foes over the mechanism that should regulate the work of the government during the presidential vacuum.

Al-Liwaa newspaper reported that a verbal spat occurred between Free Patriotic Movement Minister Jebran Bassil and another minister, who wasn't named, over the vacuum.

Bassil stressed during the session the importance of electing a new head of state, prompting a minister to wonder if the “cabinet is responsible for the vacuum,” rejecting attempts to paralyze the work of the cabinet.

The cabinet had convened last week for the first time after the end of ex-president Michel Suleiman's term. The parliament has failed to elect a successor to Suleiman -- whose six-year term ended on May 25 -- despite having held five electoral sessions for that purpose.

The presidential vacuum raised fears that it would affect Lebanon's power-sharing agreement under which the president should be a Maronite, the premier a Sunni and the speaker a Shiite.



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