Lebanon: Parliament Asks Govt to Continue in Caretaker Capacity amid Presidential Vacuum
The Lebanese Parliament asked caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to “move forward with his work”, in an indirect rejection of a letter addressed to him by President Michel Aoun one day before the end of his presidential term.
In his letter on Monday, Aoun had signed a decree accepting the resignation of the caretaker government, thus limiting its constitutional powers.
Mikati’s caretaker cabinet has been managing the country’s affairs since the end of its mandate with the holding of parliamentary elections in May.
During a parliamentary session to discuss Aoun’s letter, Mikati said that his government would continue to work “to avoid constitutional accountability on charges of violating the duties stipulated in Article 70 of the Constitution.”
He added that his government, which is already considered resigned without the need for a decision from the president, should proceed with its caretaker capacity out of its “constitutional duties”, stressing that a vacuum would contradict the constitution.
Speaker Nabih Berri, for his part, said that all the stances unanimously agreed that the priority was to elect a president of the republic.
"Since the election of the Parliament and until today, I have reiterated the same as you did, the need that there should be consensus,” Berri told the deputies.
The Speaker has scheduled a session to elect a new president on Thursday, saying he would convene Parliament on a weekly basis for this purpose.
“I hope that consensus is reached throughout this week between all the blocs and groups…. If a compromise is not made here or there, we won’t reach a solution,” he said.
The positions of political parties have varied regarding Aoun’s letter.
A member of the Democratic Gathering bloc, MP Wael Abu Faour, said: “Partnership is not an option… The bloc is committed to the only solution, which is to elect a president who can save us from all these complications…”
For his part, Lebanese Forces MP Georges Adwan stressed that the government should continue its caretaking role to avoid a constitutional vacuum.