PM Salam discusses the dangers of Lebanon’s presidential vacuum

Published June 13th, 2016 - 09:30 GMT
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam. (AFP/File)
Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam. (AFP/File)

Prime Minister Tammam Salam expressed his frustration over the country's current political stalemate, warning that Lebanon will enter a more dangerous phase without the election of a president, local media reported Monday.

"We are continuing to go around circles and the presidential void is adding more negative [repercussions] and struggles, despite current efforts," Salam said in a conversation with journalists at his residence in Beirut Sunday evening.

But Salam voiced doubt that there will soon be an end to the more than two-year presidential vacuum, blaming the self-interests of internal and external players.

"The conflicts continue in the region and instead of seeing solutions, we are witnessing more confrontations and unrest," he said. "No one cares about anyone else, but everyone thinks about themselves, whether internally or externally."

Lebanon has been without a president since the term of former President Michel Sleiman ended in May 2014. The country failed for a 40th time earlier this month to elect a new head of state due to a lack of quorum, with Parliament speaker Nabih Berri adjourning the vote session to June 23.

Salam said that the Cabinet is only "temporarily" solving its issues through settlements "here and there."

"Even the Cabinet is troubled, it meets once or twice, and every topic needs half an hour and will be discussed through two or three sessions. Sometimes we reach a solution, most of the time we don't," he said.

Last week, ministers belonging to the Kataeb Party walked out of the Cabinet meeting over their opposition to the trash plan.

Salam condemned the "sectarian atmosphere" of the Cabinet sessions, saying: "every party wants to invest in the sensitive and sectarian issues believing they will improve their standing with their sect."

The Lebanese premier, however, praised the Berri's efforts, saying that he is working with all political factions to get the country out of the crisis.

He revealed that Thursday's session will discuss the country's illegal internet networks, but not the controversial State Security and Janna Dam dispute.

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