Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: Seeking a Broad Lebanese National Bloc

Berri to Asharq Al-Awsat: Seeking a Broad Lebanese National Bloc

Monday, 14 May, 2018 - 07:00
Speaker Nabih Berri. National News Agency photo
Beirut - Thaer Abbas
Lebanese Speaker Nabih Berri told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday that he is seeking to form a broad national bloc in the newly elected Parliament that is set to officially begin its mandate on June 21.

Asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about the next cabinet lineup, the Speaker revealed that Lebanese parties have not yet discussed the issue. “We would wait for Parliament to meet on June 23 to elect its speaker, deputy and parliament bureau, after which (President Michel Auon) would kick off consultations with legislators to name the next premier,” Berri said.

He told the daily that he would prefer for the next Cabinet to include all parties represented in the Parliament.

According to Berri, the March 8 (Hezbollah, Amal and their allies) and the March 14 coalitions have become obsolete.

“Alliances were reshuffled in a completely incomprehensible manner,” he said, adding that the so-called March 8 alliance currently possesses more than 50 out of 128 parliamentary seats.

Berri denied that his ally, “Hezbollah”, is seeking a bigger share of ministers in the new government.

He noted that the Lebanese Forces got a weighing share of Christian deputies (around 16) almost equaling the share of the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.

At the economic level, Berri said “fighting corruption and introducing fiscal reforms should be the main concern of the next Cabinet, expected to be formed after Parliament starts its mandate.”

He added that the loans obtained by Lebanon from the CEDRE Conference held in Paris recently "are not for free."

“This time, the loan is conditional on reforms. The eyes of the international community are open to evaluate the government performance,” he said.

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