Mahfoud : Caretaking does’nt apply to resigned minsters


Elie Mahfoud , leader of the Change Movement and member of the March 14 coalition said during a press conference that the term “caretaking” does not apply to the 11 ministers who resigned from the cabinet because they resigned on their own ”

He added : On the other hand the remaining 19 other ministers are “caretaking ministers”, Mahfoud said , adding that the Finance Ministry should therefore terminate the payroll of the 11 resigned ministers effective January 12, 2010.

He also added that the ministries of Defense and Interior should withdraw the military members assigned to protect the resigned ministers because the latter are now regular citizens.

Lebanon’s president asked Hariri to stay on as caretaker prime minister on Thursday after Hezbollah ministers and their allies resigned in a dispute over an investigation into the killing of Hariri’s father. A statement issued by President Michel Suleiman called on the government to “continue in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed”.

Lebanon’s government is dissolved when more than one third of its 30 cabinet members resign, and on Wednesday all 10 ministers belonging to the Iranian backed Hezbollah-led opposition announced their resignations. Hours later, they were joined by an eleventh minister representing Lebanese president Michel Suleiman, forcing the collapse of PM Saad Hariri’s government.

Saudi and Syrian officials have reportedly been working on a compromise that would resolve tensions in Lebanon over the imminent Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) indictment . Reports say that the STL may soon indict Hezbollah members in its investigation of the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, father of Saad the current prime minister.

Hezbollah asked MP Michel Aoun to announce on Tuesday the failure of the Saudi-Syrian initiative and to blame March 14 alliance for the failure.

“The Lebanese president will begin consultations with lawmakers at 12:00 p.m. on Monday January 17 to designate a new prime minister”, parliament speaker Nabih Berri said after meeting President Michel Suleiman at the Baabda palace .