DOHA (Sputnik) – Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said on Sunday that the presidential decree accepting the resignation of the government had no constitutional power, adding that his cabinet would continue to carry out its duties.
Earlier in the day, Lebanon’s outgoing President Michel Aoun left the presidential palace one day before the official end of his six-year term, reaching no consensus with Mikati on possible cabinet candidates. According to the Lebanese constitution, if the parliament fails to pick a president by the end of the term, his powers are temporarily transferred to the cabinet.
“The government will continue to carry out its duties in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and the provisions of the law which ensure its operation and the manner in which its decisions are taken, unless Parliament has a different opinion,” Mikati said in a letter addressed to the Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri.
“A presidential decree approving the resignation of the government, which has already resigned in accordance with the constitution after a parliamentary election, has no constitutional force.”
According to Mikati, the decree was more of a declaration than a constructive document, so all responsibilities of the cabinet are transferred to the caretaker government until a new cabinet is appointed, “with no need for a presidential decision on the matter.”
Lebanon has been plunged in a grave financial and economic crisis, accompanied by political and social tensions, for over two years. Now that Aoun left a vacuum at the top of the small nation, the political crisis is expected to further deepen.