President Michel Aoun may stay in the Baabda Palace following the end of his presidential term in order not to cede his powers to a caretaker cabinet, senior Free Patriotic Movement sources have said.
“We will not accept, in any way, the remaining of the caretaker cabinet should we reach presidential vacuum, and we will not accept the scheme of Speaker Nabih Berri and PM-designate Najib Mikati that is based on ambiguous constitutional edicts,” the sources told al-Akhbar newspaper in remarks published Wednesday.
“The choices are open before us, topped by the choice which neither us nor President Aoun want, which is his staying at the presidential palace, should Mikati fail to form a government before that,” the sources added.
They also noted that such a choice might not be more controversial than “the caretaker cabinet’s inheritance of the president’s powers.”
“Such an orientation will find support among a lot of Christian forces who reject infringement on the powers of the top Christian position, and Bkirki is certainly among them,” the sources added.
Sources close to the FPM meanwhile told al-Akhbar that Aoun has two other options.
“The first is revoking Mikati’s designation and inviting parliament to new consultations to pick another premier who can form a government quickly, although this option needs a Sunni partner and may spark a crisis with the Sunni community,” the sources said.
“There is also a choice for him to follow the example of (former) president Amin Gemayel, who formed in the last minutes of his term on Sep. 22, 1988 a military government to which he ceded the presidential powers, amid the presence of a resigned government that was led by ex-PM Salim al-Hoss, without that meaning that Aoun is compelled that such a government be a military one,” the sources added.