BEIRUT — The caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said on Sunday, on the eve of the end of President Michel Aoun's mandate, that it seemed "preferable" for his cabinet to continue to manage current affairs rather than to form a new government, saying that a new cabinet might not have "obtained the confidence" of Parliament.
Lebanon will be faced on Tuesday, for the first time in its history, with a double vacancy in the Executive, while no successor to Aoun, whose term expires on Monday at midnight, has been elected, and a new government has not been formed. Amid a political vacuum, Mikati is set to travel Monday to Algeria to represent Lebanon at the Arab summit.
"From the beginning, Michel Aoun did not want me to form a government," Mikati said in an interview with local channel LBCI. "A mediation was in the last few days to form a government, but it did not succeed ... and it was possible that the new government might not have obtained the confidence [of Parliament]. For this reason, it seemed better to me that the current cabinet continues to manage current affairs because nothing would change for me."
According to Mikati, "The constitution is clear: the government has the prerogatives of the president" in case of a vacancy in the presidency.
Mikati also assured "to ensure that all ministers remain in their posts," while press reports indicate that some of them close to the Free Patriotic Movement would consider handing in their resignation.
"The ministers will continue their work. I do not claim to be able to appoint new ones, and I am sure that no minister will ask to be exempted [from his or her responsibilities]," he said, considering that "some are trying to create non-existent bombs.”
Mikati also noted that he will only convene his outgoing cabinet in "cases of extreme necessity."
In another interview with the NBN channel, Mikati said that "issuing a decree to accept the resignation of the government will not change anything because the cabinet has already resigned according to the constitution."
On Sunday, Aoun signed a decree of the resignation of Mikati's government and sent a letter to the House urging it to remove his status as Prime Minister-designate or, at least, to put pressure on him so that he forms a cabinet in the remaining hours before the official end of Aoun's six-year term. In his letter, Aoun repeated his accusations that the Prime Minister "does not want to form a government."
For his part, the Speaker of Parliament, Nabih Berri, a fierce opponent of Aoun, told L'Orient-Le Jour on Sunday that he will convene a session of MPs within three days to elect a new president.
BEIRUT — The caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, said on Sunday, on the eve of the end of President Michel Aoun's mandate, that it seemed "preferable" for his cabinet to continue to manage current affairs rather than to form a new government, saying that a new cabinet might not have "obtained the confidence" of Parliament.Lebanon will be faced on Tuesday, for the first time in its...