Lebanon PM is worried about cabinet credibility


mikati def 3Lebanon PM Najib Mikati who is reportedly worried about the credibility of the cabinet urged the cabinet members to refrain from expressing their own personal viewpoints that would draw criticism against the government and accusations of lack of credibility.

“The dangers surrounding us should prevent us from expressing personal viewpoints … that would allow some parties to have doubts in the government’s credibility,” Mikati told a cabinet session held at the Grand Serail on Tuesday

“We should keep Lebanon away from the policy of axes and commit to the Baabda Declaration at this critical stage in the region,” Mikati said.

“The government is committed to distancing itself from the policy of axes,” Mikati stressed.

This comes nearly a week after Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour called on Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo to allow the Syrian government retake its seat at the Arab League.

The League, which suspended Syria in November 2011, said at the time the suspension would apply until President Bashar Assad implemented an Arab deal to end violence against protesters.

A year later, the League recognized the Syrian National Coalition headed by Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib as the “legitimate representative and main interlocutor with the Arab League.”

Mansour’s call drew a sharp retort from Mikati and several March 14 opposition officials that support the revolt against Assad.

President Michel Suleiman also stressed that any stance taken by government officials, in particular the Foreign Minister, should reflect the state’s dissociation policy.

Electoral law

In an interview published Tuesday by As-Safir newspaper, the Prime Minister reiterated his call for a consensual electoral law and his rejection of the so called Orthodox Gathering electoral draft law which is sectarian based.

“The Orthodox law will legalize federalism and cantons and will undermine the Taif Accord,” he told the daily

Mikati shrugged off criticism over inking a decree calling for the elections on June 9 based on the 1960 winner-takes-all system

“Let us turn the equation, let us make the Muslims vote for Christian MPs and the Christians vote for Muslim MPs,” Miqati said.

The Orthodox draft law, which calls for proportional voting along sectarian lines and which was adopted by the joint parliamentary committees had been endorsed by the country’s four major Christian parties. However, it was met with severe opposition from the Future Movement, the PSP, and independent March 14 Christian MPs, as well as President Michel Suleiman.

Won’t step down

Mikati also told As Safir newspaper that the cabinet will not step down:

“The cabinet has preserved Lebanon over the past two years, which were the most difficult, dangerous and complicated stages that the country had to pass through,” Mikati said