Berri Warns Presidential Vacuum Shouldn't Impact Other State Powers

Speaker Nabih Berri considered on Monday that cooperation between the state institutions doesn't compel the obstruction of all powers if vacuum hits a certain post.

Berri in comments published in As Safir newspaper wondered if “some parties are mulling to adopt a new definition of cooperation” among state powers.

The speaker expressed concern over “the irresponsible approach” by the political arch-foes regarding the political crises.

Lebanon has been plunged into a leadership vacuum after Michel Suleiman's presidential term ended on May 25 with rival political blocs still divided over a new leader.

A sharp row among the political arch-foes rose in the cabinet over the mechanism regulating the government’s work during the ongoing presidential vacuum.

The cabinet assumes the executive tasks of the president as stated by the constitution until a new head of state is elected.

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.

Another sharp debate over parliamentary sessions surfaced as Christian parties' decided to boycott legislative sessions until the election of a new head of state.

Asked about the new wage scale draft-law, Berri said that the suggestion he proposed to head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc is “realistic and secures balance between the state's income and expenditures.”

“There's no justification for any further delay.”

The Mustaqbal Movement boycotted legislative sessions aimed at discussing a wage scale for the public sector, warning that endorsing the draft-law would have negative repercussions on the country's economy.

The public sector employees and teachers are holding onto a 121 percent increase in their salaries. But a ministerial-parliamentary committee has proposed to reduce the total funding from LL2.8 trillion ($1.9 billion) to LL1.8 trillion ($1.2 billion).

It has also called for raising certain taxes, which are a source of controversy among parliamentary blocs.

The Syndicate Coordination Committee, a coalition of private and public school teachers and public sector employees, has held several protests to pressure parliament to approve the wage scale draft-law without any amendments.



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