Lebanon: Government Formation Stuck at Distribution of Portfolios

Lebanon: Government Formation Stuck at Distribution of Portfolios

Saturday, 9 June, 2018 - 06:00
Lebanese PM-designate Saad Hariri. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut - Asharq Al-Awsat
The impossible demands set by Lebanon’s political parties wishing to earn the biggest ministerial representation in the next government, drove fears that two weeks after his nomination, PM-designate Saad Hariri would face difficulties in forming his cabinet.

However, sources from the Baabda presidential palace and from the government Grand Serail were keen to rule out those fears, assuring that the government formation process was still within its very acceptable deadline.

Those sources revealed that closed-door meetings were held to remove obstacles related to the size of representation and the portfolio distribution and to dissipate any expected political bickering related to the ministerial statement.

Sources informed about the position of President Michel Aoun told Asharq Al-Awsat: “There is no pessimistic mood around the birth of the new government as the process is within the constitutional deadline.”

The sources spoke about obstacles related to the demands of parliamentary blocs, mostly related to the size of their representation and the type of the portfolios.

“Those issues are being discussed,” they said.

Hariri’s circles echoed Baabda’s optimism concerning the government lineup.

Former deputy Oqab Sakr, who is close to the PM-designate, told Asharq Al-Awsat that “Hariri is currently leading the lineup consultations on two tracks: the first aims to remove obstacles related to the shares and portfolios of parliamentary blocs, and the other aims to draft a clear political rhetoric for the next ministerial statement.”

Sources close to Aoun said that most blocs are demanding acquiring sovereign and services portfolios.

“It is impossible to meet the requests of all blocs. We have a 30-member cabinet that should be formed according to the weight of each bloc,” they explained.

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