“We cannot appoint a new prime minister before the election of a president,” he said in response to head of former PM and Future Movement MP Saad Hariri’s declaration that a speaker of parliament cannot be elected before a president.
Berri explained that the appointment of a prime minister requires consultations between the president and the speaker and lawmakers.
“The persistence of the presidential vacuum therefore hinders the election of a PM ,” he stressed.
“lawmakers must therefore elect a president in order to safeguard state institutions,” he remarked.
Berri’s comments come days after Hariri proposed a “roadmap” aimed at protecting Lebanon from the unrest taking place in neighboring Syria.
“Electing a president is the core issue for ending the (political) vacuum and for developing a solution to the current crisis,” Hariri said Friday in a televised speech.
The former premier said the roadmap also includes “withdrawal of Hezbollah from the Syrian war, preparation of a national plan to confront terrorism in all its forms, agreement on an official emergency plan to face the Syrian refugee crisis, and doing everything possible to prevent Lebanon from drowning in the repercussions of the Syrian crisis.”
“The roadmap to protect Lebanon consists of forming a new cabinet similar to the current one, that would handle, with the new president, management of the current situation and the holding of the parliamentary elections.” He added
The former PM also rejected the extension of parliament’s term :
“holding parliamentary elections with no president indicates an automatically resigned cabinet and the impossibility of forming a new one.”
Lebanon has had no president since May 25, when Michel Suleiman’s mandate expired.
The Lebanese parliament has failed eight times in row to elect a president, each time unable to reach a quorum as March 8 parliamentarians affiliated with Hezbollah and Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc have boycotted the sessions.