Suleiman Appeals for Election of New President, Says Vacuum is Unacceptable

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President Michel Suleiman on Wednesday called on all parties to guarantee the appropriate atmosphere to avoid vacuum as parliament is expected to convene next week to elect a new head of state.

During a cabinet session held at Baabda Palace, Suleiman said: “Vacuum is unacceptable. Laws haven’t been put in place so that we fall in vacuum.”

As the cabinet convened, Speaker Nabih Berri invited lawmakers for a session next Wednesday to elect a new president to succeed Suleiman, whose six-year term ends on May 25.

On the recent protests held by the Syndicate Coordination Committee over the pay hike, Suleiman said: “The wage scale is a right and all officials and syndicates should protect that right.”

He lamented however that “amendments introduced to it wore it out and confused it.”

The SCC has been staging sit-ins and strikes to pressure lawmakers into approving the pay hike. But parliament failed to do so and instead formed a committee to study it for 15 days.

The president told Prime Minister Tammam Salam and the cabinet ministers that he was satisfied with the security plan implemented in the northern city of Tripoli and the eastern Bekaa Valley.

He also urged all agencies to coordinate to open a road for the remote border village of al-Tufail.

He called for security measures to protect holy sites during Easter.

The cabinet appointed Fatima Sayegh Owaidat the new head of the Civil Service Council.

The government is also expected to approve several decisions taken by the government of former Prime Minister Najib Miqati between March 22 last year and January 15, 2014.

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