Cabinet OKs New Appointments as Christian Participation during Vacuum Remains Uncertain

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The cabinet appointed on Thursday new employees in public administration in a cabinet session haunted by uncertainty over Christian ministers' possible boycotting of ministerial meetings following the expected vacuum in the presidency.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam's government appointed on Thursday afternoon Suzanne al-Khoury Yohanna as director general of civil status at the interior ministry, several media outlets reported.

Also, Judge Omar Hamzeh was appointed as director general of municipalities and Hoda Salloum as director general of the traffic and vehicles department.

And a new board of directors was appointed for the Rafik Hariri University Hospital.

The ministers also agreed on allocating millions of dollars to execute new roads in different regions in the country.

“The cabinet has earmarked $18 million for executing the Tannourine al-Tahta-Tannourine road project and $6 million for the Ehmej-Laqlouq road project,” Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil revealed in a tweet during the session.

Meanwhile, LBCI television reported that the government earmarked $8 million for executing the Daraoun-Harissa-Ashqout road project, and $27 million for the Mayrouba-Nahr al-Bared- al-Termos road.

Another $46 million were earmarked to execute the Mar Shaaya- al-Atshana road, and to link Baabdat-Beshlama road to Zahle, that in addition to executing the Jal El Dib bridge in al-Metn.

In a separate matter, the ministers approved Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq's suggestion to issue new biometric passports.

Accordingly, old passports will become invalid as of 2015.

But LBCI said that the use of new passports will not necessarily kick off in 2015, as several countries have not yet adopted this biometric system.

Salam hoped at the beginning of the session that all political forces would join efforts to elect a new president and not to allow the vacancy period to protract, three days before President Michel Suleiman's term in office comes to an end.

Suleiman's tenure ends on May 25, but MPs failed on Thursday morning for the fifth time in electing a new head of state over differences between the March 8 and March 14 coalitions.

Several reports have said that Christian lawmakers and ministers are considering boycotting parliamentary and ministerial sessions following the expected vacuum in the top Christian post in the Republic.

Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon announced before the session that the Christian independent figures of the March 14 coalition will decide on Friday on whether to take part in the cabinet and the parliament's sessions amid the presidential vacuum.

Meanwhile, FM Bassil, who is also a Free Patriotic Movement official, declined to comment on this issue.

“There is no need to fear for the security situation in the event of vacuum and Christians are rational and won't paralyze the cabinet,” Mashnouq commented on the controversy.



Comments 12
Thumb beiruti 22 May 2014, 21:02

The Christian irrelevance in Lebanon is of their own making with their silly boycotts and attempts to create vacuums. As we all know, power abhors a vacuum. Where the Christians vacate power, don't think that the vacuum will be sustained. Others will come to exercise the power in lieu of the Christians.
Moslems have not done this to the Christians, the Christians are victims of their own hand.

Default-user-icon what (Guest) 22 May 2014, 22:45

How is it not the Mulsims who have done this? No matter what goes on Hezb is a main concern to all parties. They all have to be approved by the Hezb in order to succeed. When a country needs to be a approved by a terrorists group in order to function, then its not a country, its a hostage.

Thumb beiruti 23 May 2014, 03:47

Actually it started with the Alawi Hadez al Assad who is neither Christian or Moslem. He used the PLO to destableze Lebaanon, then preyed upon the division among the Christians, choosing the Frangieh clan to pit them against the rest of the Christians to split the Christians and take control o Levanon. The legacy of Hadez al Assad in Lebanon is Hezbollah and a divided Christian political leadership. The division weakens the Christians enough to allow Hezbollah to rule, de facto. Aoun has facilitated the Assad legacy in Lebanon.

Missing georgeskyp 23 May 2014, 11:27

Beiruti it seems you don't understand the concept of Democracy. Its very normal to have different candidates. I personally don't agree with some of the parties and leaders so I would vote for the other. Whats wrong with that?

Its the system that is flawed that allows this vacuum or not to elect a president. In such a case it should be a simply majority in parliament. I guarantee you they would all show up and cast their votes.

Missing coolmec 22 May 2014, 21:44

I totally agree with you
I just hope the Christians will rise and kick out the current Christian leadership that is antiquated corrupt and warlords

Missing gcb1 22 May 2014, 22:15

Another indicator of how our sectarian system paralyzes government.

Default-user-icon (Guest) 22 May 2014, 23:09

Beiruti knows nothing about Lebanon's modern history. As a homework, he should count how many times Muslims have paralyzed the country by boycotting the government since the late 1950's till today.

The Lebanese ignorance of their history and their political and sectarian realities is beyond pathetic.

Thumb 22 May 2014, 23:09

Beiruti knows nothing about Lebanon's modern history. As a homework, he should count how many times Muslims have paralyzed the country by boycotting the government since the late 1950's till today.

The Lebanese ignorance of their history and their political and sectarian realities is beyond pathetic.

Thumb beiruti 23 May 2014, 00:34

This isn't 60 years ago, bub, its 2014 not 1954. Stop living in the past. I'm talking about right now, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to having a political presence in the country.
And if you look past 60 years ago, our number one enemy in the region going back 1000 years has been disunity among our people. They would rather fight each other than anyone else, weaken themselves and let the non-Christians then have their way.

Thumb beiruti 23 May 2014, 00:36

In 1988, the Moslems of West Beirut would sit outside and listen to how the LAF and LF would blast away at each other in East Beirut and be thankful that they did not let loose their fire power on them, but rather saved their Christian fire to be spent on each other. It was that inter-Christian fratricide that drove many Christians out of the country in 1990 and the scars of that war that keep the Christians divided and weakened to this day.
I will be glad to engage you Erasmus in history lessons.

Default-user-icon Amir (Guest) 23 May 2014, 01:05

The vacuum created is in the heads of the politicians and not in the position or function.
Are the Lebanese that dumb and dormant or they do no linger give a damn.
Here are two major roads projects......ROADS again for whoever could read, listen and understand, why on earth the minister of external affairs has to make the announcement ???
Is this a joke, or lack of training or the minister of public works is illiterate and afraid of the media .??
Poor lebanon

Thumb thepatriot 23 May 2014, 12:45

"MP Ibrahim Kanaan stressed the need to elect a new president before Suleiman's term ends on May 25, highlighting the importance of quorum at parliament to ensure that the polls are held"
May 13th 2014