Salam Says No Cabinet Formation Progress, Cites Option of Stepping Down

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Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam said Monday that there was still no progress in the formation of a new government and that a decision to step down was one of the available options.

“There is still no progress in the cabinet formation but this will not stop me” from exerting further efforts, Salam said following talks with President Michel Suleiman at Baabda palace.

“I will not stand idle,” he said, adding he will not wait indefinitely.

Salam cited several options, including the decision to step down. But said: “I hope we would be able to take the best option for the sake of the country.”

The premier-designate reiterated that the rotation of portfolios in the new cabinet was essential and stressed that he continued to reject giving veto power to any side.

This means Salam is holding onto his proposal for a 24-member government divided equally among the March 8 and March 14 alliances and the centrists.

He denied in response to a question that he had received from the political parties the names of their candidates for the government.

Salam met on Sunday with caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour, who is loyal to Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat, to discuss the cabinet formation.

The PM-designate told reporters in Baabda that he appreciated the role played by Jumblat in trying to facilitate his mission.

The PSP chief is part of the centrist camp that includes Suleiman and Salam.

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