Salam Warns against Cabinet Formation Delay as Presidential Elections Loom

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Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam has warned that the country will head towards more paralysis if the new government was not formed amid looming presidential elections next year.

In an interview with As Safir newspaper published on Friday, Salam said: “The deadlines are pressing and they are intertwining with the deadline of the presidential elections.”

“The more we approach the elections, the more there will be … paralysis,” he said.

Salam lamented that the political rhetoric was not helping his efforts to form the cabinet and was leading towards more deadlock.

He said he thought the latest deal between Iran and the major powers on its nuclear program would reflect positively in Lebanon and help resolve several of its political crises.

The PM-designate also snapped back at critics that he was not moving swiftly to form the cabinet, saying he has put certain working rules for himself out of his conviction that he hadn't asked for the post from anyone.

“Those who gave me their votes (for my nomination) should seek to agree with the PM-designate on what should happen,” Salam told As Safir.

“I held the consultations on the (cabinet) formation, which they were followed by large-scale talks with all parties,” he said, warding off any accusation that he was procrastinating on the line-up.

Salam, a British-educated lawmaker, was asked by President Michel Suleiman to head the new government in April.

The parliament strongly endorsed him with 124 lawmakers in the 128-seat legislature voting in favor of his nomination.

But the regional situation, in addition to the conditions and counter conditions set by the rival parties and mainly the March 8 and 14 alliances have prevented him from coming up with a line-up.

Salam told As Safir that he exerted all efforts and even visited Speaker Nabih Berri twice although it is not part of his mission as PM-designate to visit party leaders and officials.

“They either want a government or not,” he said. “If I run towards them would they be readier to form the cabinet?” Salam asked about the rival camps.

“I have entrenched the role of the PM-designate, which allowed me to have patience for the past eight months,” he said.

“The people know that the problem is not with me and that in my nature I am a consensual and not a confrontational person,” Salam added.

Despite the gloomy status, the PM-designate hoped that through his cooperation with President Michel Suleiman he “would be able to achieve something.”

“There must be an opportunity to come up with something that serves the country,” he said.

“This is the positive part of the (cabinet) formation process,” he added.

Salam stressed the importance of keeping Lebanon's internal affairs away from the crises in the region.

He backed Suleiman's rejection to interfere in the region's wars and commit to the Baabda Declaration.

Comments 4
Thumb shab 06 December 2013, 12:40

As I said before, filthy militia

Missing watan-libnan 06 December 2013, 12:43

Lebanon should write a new consitution allowing for the president to authorize an emergency goverment when politians can not agree to hold elections for gods sake this is a country not a camp a country that depends on tourism as its main source of income . someone make the hard desicion and get on with it

Thumb eli-g 06 December 2013, 13:45

@watan don't waste your breath. Useless culture for useless country.

Default-user-icon Shlombo Graffi (Guest) 06 December 2013, 19:17

I think this warning is a little over 7 months old. And by whom? Mommy's stale Ya Salam!