Salam Defends PM Powers, Slams 'Constitutional Heresies'

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Ex-PM and Beirut MP Tammam Salam on Tuesday defended the premiership's jurisdiction, describing recent calls for “withdrawing the designation from the PM-designate” as a “constitutional heresy.”

“Ever since independence, Lebanon's history has never witnessed what we experienced during the long months of the cabinet formation process,” Salam said in an address before Parliament during a session to debate the new government's Policy Statement.

He lamented that some parties had “dared to encroach on jurisdiction” and that the country witnessed “an unprecedented decline in political rhetoric.”

“The original sin was the flaw that entered our political life with the Doha Accord,” Salam added, noting that “the principle of coalition governments is a heresy that undermines democracy and the parliamentary system.”

“The theory of withdrawing designation and imposing standards on the PM-designate is a constitutional heresy,” the ex-PM went on to say.

He explained that “the theory that every four or five MPs are entitled to a minister makes the parties speculative partners of the prime minister, and this has become an established approach that characterizes the political life in Lebanon.”

Salam also called on all parties to “respect the Taef Accord despite its partial implementation,” and called for “reviving the national dialogue meetings” to discuss the issue of Hizbullah's arms and the national defense strategy.

And wishing Prime Minister Saad Hariri success in “this major national challenge,” Salam said he is “optimistic over the capabilities of the new government in light of the competence of its members.”

Comments 1
Thumb chrisrushlau 9 days

In explaining who exactly had agreed to the Taef Accord and in precisely what terms, as far as the electoral process goes, Salam was called away to Saudi Arabia for an ice cream cone. He rushed out, claiming a prior constitutional heresy, "Firstest is bestest!"
His suggestion for "national dialogue meetings" among "all parties" sounds like a coalition government as opposed to an outcome dictated by the voters. If he wants a constitutional convention (not a new one, but a first one), let him explain his terms and proposed procedures. And don't forget a napkin, ice cream melts fast in Saudi Arabia.