Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Saturday Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam needed to adopt a more realistic style in forming the next government and voiced readiness to offer him support in the task.
“With time, the prime minister-designate will figure out that there is a difference between idealism and reality and that a person should be realistic in his style rather than adopt absolute idealism,” Mikati told reporters after visiting Speaker Nabih Berri at the latter’s Ain al-Tineh residence.
“All of us wish the best for our country and what the prime minister-designate wishes for today is similar to what [I when prime minister-designate] wished for but there is a huge gap between reality and what one desires,” Mikati said.
In remarks published by As-Safir Saturday, Salam said he would not “act as my predecessors have and contact every bloc and figure and engage into the fray of spoil-sharing.”
Salam, who was nominated to head the next government on April 6, reiterated he was waiting for representatives of various blocs to visit him and make proposals regarding the new Cabinet.
Mikati said that all officials needed to act in a realistic manner so that Lebanon could endure the difficult circumstances in the region.
He added that he was ready to assist Salam in any matter that served the interest of the country.
Meanwhile, Salam received at his Msaitbeh residence Beirut Maronite Bishop Bulos Matar, caretaker Minister of State Ali Qanso, from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, and former MP Talal Merhebi.
Qanso said that a national unity government should be formed in order to address the repercussions of the crisis in Syria which he predicted would worsen in the future.
“Our party hopes that just as they nominated Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam unanimously, political factions should form a government unanimously,” Qanso told reporters after the meeting.
“Our party believes that the Cabinet that can fortify the country is a national unity government,” he added.
Salam and the March 14 coalition insist that the government be non-political and tasked with overseeing parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, senior Hezbollah official Sheikh Nabil Qawouk said that Israel was betting on changes in Lebanon to do away with the formula of the “Army, people and resistance.”
“Israel is betting on a government change and on parliamentary elections to change this formula, but such betting will only result in disappointment for Israel and America,” Qawouk said during a ceremony in the south.
“This is because there are equations in Lebanon that are too strong to be changed by regional changes, foreign dictates or local, spiteful behavior,” he added.
Hezbollah insists on the inclusion of a clause in every Cabinet policy statement stipulating that Lebanon’s “Army, people and resistance,” have the right to defend the country, regarding it as legitimizing its role.
But rivals in the March 14 coalition argue that the “Baabda Declaration,” which calls for distancing Lebanon from the conflict in Syria, should be in the policy statement of the new Cabinet instead.
Qawouk reiterated Hezbollah’s stance that the government should be political, representing all parties.
During his talks with Speaker Berri Saturday, Mikati said the two had also discussed the need for rival political parties to quickly agree on an electoral law that provides fair representation.
Mikati also denied that a circular he issued Friday urging caretaker ministers to limit their activities to routine administrative work came after reports that caretaker ministers loyal to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun had exceeded their powers.
“We heard in previous days about some work being done in some ministries [that is not in line with the caretaker status of ministers] ... it is a general circular that is not addressed to a specific side or minister,” Mikati said.