Cabinet approves 10 appointments despite sectarian differences


tamam salam - March 14 meetingThe cabinet on Wednesday approved ten administrative appointments after they were postponed Monday over reasons that turned out to be “sectarian,” as it tasked a ministerial committee with studying the two oil exploration decrees.

According to al-Jadeed TV, the cabinet passed 10 appointments, including those of Prosecutor General Samir Hammoud and Internal Security Forces chief Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous, who had been serving in caretaker capacity.

Meanwhile, OTV said the appointments respected sectarian balance among Christians and Muslims.

Ahmed Hamdan was appointed as head of the Audit Bureau, Faten Younis as director of political affairs at the Ministry of Interior and Mansour Daou as governor of the South.

Moreover, Jean Abou Fadel was named as director of the National Employment Office, Habib Merhi as a health and agricultural inspector and Hanna al-Amil as director of the sugar beet bureau.

“The cabinet appointed a governor for Akkar, in the first such decision since it became a governorate,” al-Manar television reported.

Meanwhile, Kamal Hayek retained his post as director general of Electricite Du Liban as Lina Dergham was appointed as director general of the Ministry of Industry.

In the wake of the appointments, President Michel Suleiman announced that “the rest of the appointments will be approved in the coming sessions and all vacancies will be filled.”

The president asked the ministers to return with the names of their candidates in order to fill vacancies at all ministries.

The cabinet had postponed the appointments on Monday after disputes forced it to suspend the session for over an hour. Amid Suleiman’s insistence during that session on passing the appointments of Hammoud and Basbous to secure the implementation of the security plan, the ministers of the March 8 forces had stressed that the appointments must be approved as “one package.”

Turning to the issue of oil exploration, which has been witnessing disputes focused on contracts and maritime blocs, the cabinet decided to form a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam to study the decrees that are needed to launch the process.

According to LBCI, the committee comprises the ministers Samir Moqbel (Defense), Arthur Nazarian (Energy and Water), Mohammed al-Mashnouq (Environment), Ghazi Zoaiter (Public Works and Transport), Wael Abou Faour (Health), Jebran Bassil (Foreign Affairs), Ali Hassan Khalil (Finance) and Alain Hakim (Economy).