The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, affirmed that it is not permissible to exclude parliamentary blocks from the process of forming the government because it is these blocs who will grant or withhold the vote of confidence in the parliament, and the constitution does not provide for the allocation of any ministry to any sect or any group or parties, nor is it possible to give any minister power not be provided in the constitution.

President Aoun presented a proposal to take the first step towards the civil system of the state, by canceling the sectarian distribution of the ministries that were called sovereign and not allocating them to specific sects, but making them available to all sects.

The President revealed that the PM-designate paid him four visits, and was unable to present any conception, formation, or distribution of portfolios or names, and he does not want to take into account the opinion of the heads of the blocs in the distribution of portfolios and naming of ministers and proposes comprehensive rotation, while the development, liberation and loyalty blocks insist on adhering the Ministry of Finance and on naming the minister and all the ministers of the Shiite community.

The President of the Republic then stressed that “Neither bullying us will benefit some of us, nor being empowered by outside work. Only our understanding based on the constitution and balance will take us to stability and recovery”.

In response to a question, President Aoun clarified that everyone demanded from the beginning until today the one third veto power, explaining that the government together constitutes the executive authority and that a single minister does not guarantee participation in the executive power, but rather all the ministers together.

Regarding the voices demanding to break the understanding of Mar Mikhael, he stressed that this matter has not taken place, but that does not prevent each group from expressing its opinion when there is no understanding on a topic.

President Aoun’s speech came in a press conference held at 2:30 pm today at the Presidential Palace, during which he presented the latest developments in the issue of forming the government.

President’s Speech:

“Today we are facing a crisis in forming a government, which was not supposed to happen because the deadlines awaiting Lebanon do not allow any minute to be wasted.

Due to the intransigence in stances, there is no near solution in the horizon, because all the solutions on offer are win or lose.

We have proposed logical and moderate solutions, but these solutions have not been accepted by the two parties. Returning to the constitutional texts and respecting them remains the solution in which there is neither a victor nor a loser.

Despite four visits to the designated Prime Minister, and he was unable to provide us with any concept, composition, distribution or names, and the complexities did not dissolve, which can be summarized as follows:

The PM-designate does not want to take into account the opinion of the heads of parliamentary blocs in the distribution of portfolios and the designation of ministers and proposes comprehensive rotation, and the “former prime ministers” agree with him in this issue. And it is noted that he refuses government formation if there is no national consensus on it.

  • The “Development-Liberation” and “Loyalty to Resistance” Blocs insist on adhering to the Ministry of Finance and on naming the minister and all the ministers of the honorable Shiite community. They also adhere to the French initiative.

When the problem worsened and became difficult, I consulted with representatives of the parliamentary blocs to solicit opinions, and there was a demand for rotation by most of the individuals I met, and a refusal to form a government without taking their opinion.

As for my position on everything that happens, it is as follows:

Parliamentary blocs may not be excluded from the government formation process, because it is these blocs that will grant or withhold trust in the Parliament, even if the composition is limited to the signature between the designated prime minister and the president of the republic.  Likewise, it is not permissible to impose ministers and portfolios from one party on others, especially since it does not enjoy the parliamentary majority.

The constitution does not provide for the allocation of any ministry to any sect or group of parties, nor can any minister be granted authority that is not stipulated in the constitution.

Participation in the executive power is through the government and is exercised by ministers in accordance with Articles 65 and 66 of the Constitution, which makes all ministers equal, each in the affairs of his ministry and through membership in the Council of Ministers, and no one can impose his authority on the other outside constitutional texts.

As for the procedural authority, the constitution entrusted it to the Council of Ministers as a whole and not to its prime minister or any of its members, so participation in procedural decision-making is achieved according to the constitution’s mechanisms.

The president of the republic presides over the cabinet when he attends and participates in the deliberations but does not vote, which makes him the only one in the cabinet who has no effective participation in the executive power.

Intransigence in both positions will not lead to any result, except for more aggravation, while what Lebanon needs most, in light of all its successive crises, is some solution and solidarity so that it can rise and face its problems.

I address all the Lebanese, citizens and officials.

While we all feel the sterility of the sectarian system in which we are in and the successive crises it caused, and while we sensed the necessity of developing a modern vision for a new form of government based on the civil state, I suggest taking the first step in this direction by abolishing the sectarian distribution of the ministries that were called “sovereign” and not allocating them to specific sects.

Rather, make it available to all sects, so the ability to achieve, would not be sectarian affiliation, but would be the criterion in choosing ministers.

Will we take this step and start the rescue process available to us, or will we remain hostages of sectarianism?

Neither by forcing each other, nor by feeling strong by external forces would help us. Only our constitutional based understanding and balance would lead us to stability and prosperity”.

Today we are facing a crisis in forming a government, which was not supposed to happen because the deadlines awaiting Lebanon do not allow any minute to be wasted.

Due to the intransigence in stances, there is no near solution in the horizon, because all the solutions on offer are win or lose.

We have proposed logical and moderate solutions, but these solutions have not been accepted by the two parties. Returning to the constitutional texts and respecting them remains the solution in which there is neither a victor nor a loser.

Despite four visits to the designated Prime Minister, and he was unable to provide us with any concept, composition, distribution or names, and the complexities did not dissolve, which can be summarized as follows:

 

  • The PM-designate does not want to take into account the opinion of the heads of parliamentary blocs in the distribution of portfolios and the designation of ministers and proposes comprehensive rotation, and the “former prime ministers” agree with him in this issue. And it is noted that he refuses government formation if there is no national consensus on it.
  • The “Development-Liberation” and “Loyalty to Resistance” Blocs insist on adhering to the Ministry of Finance and on naming the minister and all the ministers of the honorable Shiite community. They also adhere to the French initiative.

When the problem worsened and became difficult, I consulted with representatives of the parliamentary blocs to solicit opinions, and there was a demand for rotation by most of the individuals I met, and a refusal to form a government without taking their opinion.

As for my position on everything that happens, it is as follows:

Parliamentary blocs may not be excluded from the government formation process, because it is these blocs that will grant or withhold trust in the Parliament, even if the composition is limited to the signature between the designated prime minister and the president of the republic.  Likewise, it is not permissible to impose ministers and portfolios from one party on others, especially since it does not enjoy the parliamentary majority.

The constitution does not provide for the allocation of any ministry to any sect or group of parties, nor can any minister be granted authority that is not stipulated in the constitution.

Participation in the executive power is through the government and is exercised by ministers in accordance with Articles 65 and 66 of the Constitution, which makes all ministers equal, each in the affairs of his ministry and through membership in the Council of Ministers, and no one can impose his authority on the other outside constitutional texts.

As for the procedural authority, the constitution entrusted it to the Council of Ministers as a whole and not to its prime minister or any of its members, so participation in procedural decision-making is achieved according to the constitution’s mechanisms.

The president of the republic presides over the cabinet when he attends and participates in the deliberations but does not vote, which makes him the only one in the cabinet who has no effective participation in the executive power.

Intransigence in both positions will not lead to any result, except for more aggravation, while what Lebanon needs most, in light of all its successive crises, is some solution and solidarity so that it can rise and face its problems.

I address all the Lebanese, citizens and officials.

While we all feel the sterility of the sectarian system in which we are in and the successive crises it caused, and while we sensed the necessity of developing a modern vision for a new form of government based on the civil state, I suggest taking the first step in this direction by abolishing the sectarian distribution of the ministries that were called “sovereign” and not allocating them to specific sects.

Rather, make it available to all sects, so the ability to achieve, would not be sectarian affiliation, but would be the criterion in choosing ministers.

Will we take this step and start the rescue process available to us, or will we remain hostages of sectarianism?

Neither by forcing each other, nor by feeling strong by external forces would help us. Only our constitutional based understanding and balance would lead us to stability and prosperity”.

Questions & Answers:

Q- Why can’t we have a Lebanese reconciliation conference similar to the Taief accord, but in Lebanon as the method of implementing the current system is no longer effective?

A- : I have promised to have dialogue after this stage ends, and so far the government has not been formed, nor has the stage ended. What we must do fast is to form the government, in order to be compatible, at least under the solution that it will present and the reforms it will undertake in order to have a dialogue.

Q: What is the reason behind clinging to not assigning the Ministry of Finance to the Shiite sect, as both the Amal Movement and Hezbollah demand in order to secure participation in the decision making, especially since any team needs guarantees and the formation of the government was suspended for months in order to demand the leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil, a third veto power?

Q- Do not only talk about the past stage, for everyone had demanded from the beginning until today the one third veto power?
Q- How about the voices calling for abolishment of understanding with Hezbollah, and is the Mar Mikhael understanding still stands?

A- The understanding does not prevent each party from expressing its opinion when there is no understanding on a topic.  I am expressing my opinion based on the constitution.  The executive power is entrusted by the constitution to the Council of Ministers collectively and not to its president or any of its members, so participation in the executive decision-making is achieved according to the mechanisms of the constitution.  There are ministers in the government and they together constitute the executive power. A single minister does not guarantee participation in the executive power, but rather all the ministers together.
Q- Do you believe that He Hezbollah does not wanted a government at this particular stage, especially in light of what Patriarch Rahi said yesterday, and did you propose to the head of the Resistance Loyalty bloc, MP Muhammad Raad,  to be the guarantee for the minister of finance and he refused as the media said?
A- If this happened between me and him.  Did he say anything about it?
Q- The people awaits the investigation in the explosion at the port and the formation of a non-political government, while the discussion is in the distribution of portfolios?
A- The quotas is attributed to individuals, while it should be attributed to the sectarianism that we all adopt in our system.  I have called for the abolition of this quotas by distributing the major ministries as a first step among all representatives, whether among Christians or Muslims, and even among minorities, and let the criterion be competence.
Q- Why is the outcome of the investigations in the port explosion not released yet?
A- There are many people who are involved in the matter, and we are looking at everyone who is summoned.  The investigation needs time, and we do not want an innocent person to be sentenced.
Q-Many are demanding the abolishment of sectarian rotation among the ministries and should be demanded to include in all high level positions in the country?
A- In the ministry and in the government, nothing has changed, and this proposition has nothing to do with the formation of the government.  The first issue is based on fixed pillars agreed upon by all parties, but with regard to forming a government, there is always a mandate for a prime minister to form it.  What we are saying is that each sect, regardless of its size, has a specific number of people in the government that can be changed, and this does not require a change in the heads of the state.  When a major crisis strikes, the President of the Republic, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Prime Minister are in charge.
Q- Question: Is it true that Hezbollah and the “Amal” movement were accepting the rotation in ministries before the imposed sanctions, and changed their minds after the sanctions?  Do you fear that later the parliament ration would be disturbed?
A- We are talking today about regime change, and all issues must be studied through dialogue to reach an agreement.  I cannot answer on behalf of everyone.
Q- How do you see that the first time former PMs participate in the process of government formation?
A- In fact, it is true that they are interfering, but on the other hand they have not lost their civil rights and can contribute, and all parties do so.  As for saying that the designated PM is the one who allows it, this is another matter, and it is personal.
Q- What is the opinion of the French president about what was presented today?
A- President Macron and I have discussed the status quo, but he is not the one forming the government, but rather we are the ones.
Q- If your proposal is not approved, where are we heading?
A- We are going to Hell, otherwise I would not be speaking today.
Q- If you are unable to convince your political opponents, why are you not able to convince your allies?
A- Because they are at odds and do not accept a solution.  The solution is not for me, but for them, and what I have proposed today is for them to understand.
Q- Would you ask the prime minister-designate to apologize in the event that matters reached a dead end?
A- If he is asked to apologize and he apologizes, what will happen?  The way we resorted to is that we did not ask the majority what it wanted, but rather we asked that three names be submitted from the Sunni community to choose one of them, and we will return to the same procedure  in case of an apology.
Q- The Central Bank Governor said that the reserve would be dry within two months?
A- We ask those in charge of managing funds, why did we get to this stage?  We ask the judiciary why they don’t question them.  When we asked for the money transferred in the period in which the events took place, the judiciary did not move, and the Public Prosecution did not make a demand.  I respect the laws, and I cannot conduct coups because Lebanon is based on democracy and a balance between the components of society.
Q-We understand from your words that no government will soon see the light?
A- Miracles can happen.

 

Source: National News Agency

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