Efforts to forge an agreement on a new Cabinet appeared to be stalled Thursday as political rhetoric ramped up ahead of next week’s parliamentary sessions, the first since MPs extended their mandate and postponed elections. There has been no progress in attempts to form a new Cabinet, political sources said following a meeting between Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam andCaretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, a representative of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.
The Gulf Cooperation Council yesterday unanimously declared Lebanon-based Hezbollah a terrorist organization and said it would take measures against the group’s interest in the Gulf countries.
“All GCC countries are convinced that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Ghanim bin Fadl Al-Buainain told reporters following a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Jeddah.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam embarked Tuesday on the difficult mission of forming a new government whose primary task would be to supervise the upcoming elections.
As part of a two-day nonbinding parliamentary consultations, Salam held a series of meetings with former prime ministers and parliamentary blocs who informed him of their vision for the next Cabinet.
El diputado suní Tamam Salam, considerado un moderado, fue nombrado este sábado primer ministro del Líbano, dos semanas después de que su predecesor, Nayib Mikati, dimitiera por desavenencias en el seno de su Ejecutivo.
Salam, de 67 años, obtuvo el respaldo prácticamente unánime de los grupos parlamentarios libaneses, según los medios libaneses, que indican que 124 de los 128 diputados apoyaron su candidatura, incluido el poderoso grupo chií Hizbulá.
Activists called on March 14 coalition politicians Sunday to unite and build a civil state, during the annual commemoration of the coalition’s founding at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure center.
The event held in Beirut, where activists, rather than political figures, took center stage, revealed sharp differences in opinion between key March 14 leaders on how to reform the country’s electoral law.
The sources added that the step was a routine constitutional move and would still allow political leaders to agree on a new electoral proposal instead of the amended 1960 law used in the 2009 polls.
House Speaker Nabih Berri warned lawmakers Monday against failing to agree on a new electoral law as joint parliamentary committees began their discussions on what voting system to govern the upcoming elections.
The Orthodox Gathering proposal, which the president and Future Movement reiterated their rejection to, was the first item of discussion for lawmakers despite objections by March 14 MPs to do so.
President Michel Sleiman and March 8 ministers are expected to face off during Wednesday’s Cabinet session over the creation of a campaign supervisory body, a step some ministers fear would lead to holding elections under the current 1960 law.
The supervisory committee for elections is the first of 66 items on the Cabinet’s agenda.
Politicians in Tripoli are busy preparing for elections, despite mounting concerns that polls might be canceled or postponed as a result of either the Syrian crisis or the debate that is still raging over which electoral law to use.
The degree of preparedness differs between candidates, but nonetheless, all are indulging in the possibility of running as candidates.
The Future bloc will not attend this week’s meeting of the joint parliamentary committees on a new vote law in line with its boycott of the government, former Prime Minister Foaud Siniora said Sunday, casting gloom over the outcome of the lawmakers’ talks.
Siniora also said the Future Movement would unveil this week a comprehensive draft electoral law designed to address the Christians’ concerns, in the latest attempt to break the deadlock over which proposal best guarantees fair representation for all sects.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani slammed politicians across the country’s political divide Wednesday, saying that both the March 14 and March 8 coalitions are working to maintain Lebanon’s failing political system.
“The dictatorship of the politicians, the zuama [leaders] and the political parties continues to bless the sharp divisions between the members of this nation so that they [political leaders] can exploit them for political gains through lies and deceit,” Qabbani said.
The Interior Ministry announced Monday that it had received an accurate list of Lebanese expatriate voters who wanted to take part in upcoming parliamentary polls from all of its diplomatic missions.
The Central News Agency reported that the ministry had received data related to 10,201 expatriate voters from 49 missions, denying media reports that only 6,733 voters had been registered abroad. The ministry noted that the number had been lowered to 10,012 after a thorough examination of the lists of names.
Efforts to contain a wave of objections to the Orthodox Gathering’s draft electoral law have not managed to eliminate mounting doubts about whether elections will be held on time. Friday’s Bkirki meeting between Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun, Marada Movement leader MP Sleiman Franjieh, and Kataeb Party head Amin Gemayel was the latest of these efforts.
Preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections have been finalized, Lebanon’s Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Friday.
“The ministry’s logistical and administrative preparations for holding the elections have been finalized,” he told the Kataeb-run Voice of Lebanon radio station.
Charbel said that the Interior Ministry had also prepared a list of the names for the committee that will oversee the elections and said he would send it to the Cabinet.
Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced in a late Thursday night interview that he would run in the next parliamentary elections and stressed that the polls must take place on time.
"It is natural that I run for elections since I am involved in public affairs,” Mikati said in response to a question.
His comments were made during an interview with Al-Arabiya satellie channel Thursday evening.
Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said Friday the opposition was against Dialogue that leads to nowhere and not to the principle of all-party talks, according to a statement from his office.
“The March 14 boycott to dialogue is not a rejection to dialogue but opposition to unproductive talks in light of the security threats surrounding [the country],” said Siniora.
Sources at Baabda Palace said the next National Dialogue session, the last round of which was held in September, was scheduled for Jan. 7 of next year. This week’s session had been scheduled for Thursday.
El partido-milicia chií libanés Hezbolá ha afirmado este viernes que la petición formulada por el opositor Movimiento 14 de Marzo para que el primer ministro,Najib Mikati, presente su dimisión y se conforme un Gobierno neutral de salvación "no son realistas", al tiempo que ha subrayado que "se opone a la obstrucción de las instituciones del Estado", en referencia al boicot lanzado por la coalición opositora.