Caretaker Minister of Information, Ziad Al-Makari, affirmed that the speedy formation of a new government is essential in order to proceed with negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and tend to various urgent matters; however, he deemed that the current cabinet can continue to function.
“Logically, forming a government for a few months does not work from a practical point of view, that is if it is formed quickly based on previous experiences,” Makari said in an interview with “Radio Lebanon” this morning. For this reason, he considered that “there is nothing wrong with maintaining the current cabinet with some amendments and then submitting the lineup to the Parliament Council for confidence,” noting that this would allow the cabinet to continue the work it had started and complete the reforms required to salvage the situation.
Asked about his opinion on the possibility of PM-designate Najib Mikati’s changing of the Energy Minister due to their recent differences, Makari considered it a normal thing since the PM-designate aims to be comfortable in his work within the government…”Let’s wait and see what happens next week following the meeting with the President of the Republic,” he said, noting that the ministers are working hard, each in his own area, amidst the dire circumstances.
Asked about his position on maintaining his ministerial portfolio in the lineup presented by the PM-designate, Makari said: “No one contacted me, but I saw my name on the list that was leaked. I am pleased if I can continue with the work I started, and I hope to continue at the Information Ministry even if I were commissioned with another more important portfolio, for I have put more than one file on track and I look forward to completing them in order to restore the Ministry of Information’s powers and leading role in communication.”
Responding to another question, Makari considered that nothing can be excluded, even the presidential vacuum…”I believe that the best governments are the ones far from national unity which cannot achieve, but the problem today is that there is no clear majority,” he added.
Referring to the meeting of the Arab foreign ministers in Beirut, the Information Minister highlighted its importance and hoped for a quick return of Syria to the Arab embrace especially since its relations witnessed improvement on the Arab scene. “The settlement is near,” he added, “as well as the external conference, which is inevitable in order to install solutions that may not have matured yet.”
On the prevailing state of corruption in the country, the Minister regretted the failure of the judiciary and public prosecutions in helping it out of its stalemate corrupt situation. He hailed herein the role of the media in shedding light on various corruption dossiers, “but unfortunately, the judiciary is not moving, and this matter frustrates those concerned in the media and does not encourage them to continue,” he added.
Makari emphasized the importance of the media in addressing these issues while underlining the need to provide substantiated evidence and documents away from misleading news. “In Lebanon there are more than a thousand websites that we are in the process of organizing,” he said, noting that he will raise during the first session of the Media and Communications Parliamentary Committee the issue of media regulation and updating laws because they are in constant development.
Finally, Minister Al-Makari saluted the employees of the Ministry of Information in its various directorates, “for they are the only ones who did not go on strike and disrupt the public media sector,” promising to “work hard to find ways to help support their sustenance.”