PM Salam to call today for cabinet session to deal with pressing issues


Lebanon cabinet meetingLebanon Prime Minister Tammam Salam is expected to call for a cabinet session later on today as the country faces a number of pressing issues, according to a report by al-Joumhouria newspaper.

The daily said on Saturday that his call will be accompanied with the agenda of the session, which will likely take place on Thursday.

The agenda will include the garbage crisis, the wages of public sector employees, and other economic concerns, said ministerial sources.

They explained that the premier resorted to the “vote of the simple majority of ministers in making the call for cabinet to convene.”

In addition, he coordinated with the cabinet general secretariat and the general directorate of the presidency to publish in the official gazette next week a number of decrees.

These decrees were signed by at least 18 ministers, revealed the sources.

When the Naameh landfill south of Beirut closed July 17, Lebanon’s notoriously gridlocked government failed to take action, leaving piles of smoldering rubbish baking in the sun in the streets of Beirut and its suburbs.

As temperatures rise and the country’s infamous electricity cuts worsen, the sweltering heat and the stinking, rotting garbage is provoking an outcry from Beirut’s two million residents.

“It is a scandal, and what is even a bigger scandal is the politicians who don’t feel the need to resign,” said Paul Abi Rached, the head of the Lebanese Eco Movement.

The salaries of civil servants are also under threat. The Finance Ministry has warned that it would be unable to pay state employees their wages without an authorization from Parliament.

But the parliment has not convened since last November when it met to extend its own term in office.

The cabinet plunged in a crisis when the Free Patriotic Movement insisted that it discusses its decision-making mechanism before any other issue.

It has been holding street protests against what it calls Salam’s violation of the Christian president’s powers amid a vacuum at Baabda Palace. It is seeking to amend the cabinet’s working mechanism and wants to pressure the government to appoint high-ranking military and security officials rather than extending their terms.