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Lebanon’s Government Formation Faces 3 Obstacles

Lebanon’s Government Formation Faces 3 Obstacles

Friday, 15 June, 2018 - 07:30
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri in Russia. Dalati and Nohra photo
Beirut - Youssef Diab
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri has so far failed to reach a breakthrough in the cabinet lineup as political parties held onto their stances in having wider representation in the new government.

Asharq Al-Awsat learned on Thursday that the cabinet formation is facing three key obstacles that are unlikely to be resolved in the near future.

“The first lies on the Christian representation amid a dispute between the Lebanese Forces and the Free Patriotic Movement after FPM leader Jebran Bassil rejected offering the LF four ministries in the new government,” the sources explained.

The second problem lies in the PM’s insistence to stop the March 8 coalition from having a Sunni representative in the cabinet.

The sources said the portfolios allocated to the Druze ministers were the third and major obstacle hindering the government formation process.

“The Progressive Socialist Party insists on appointing the three Druze ministers, refusing to allow MP Talal Arslan a share in the new cabinet,” they said.

The Shiite representation in the government was kept outside the cabinet formation tension, after an agreement reached between the Amal Movement and “Hezbollah” to have an equal share of seats.

Meanwhile, sources close to Baabda Palace denied reports that President Michel Aoun had rejected an initial cabinet lineup offered by Hariri during a meeting last Tuesday.

“The President neither rejected nor accepted a draft government lineup because, in the first place, he hasn’t received any,” the sources said.

Presidential Palace sources downplayed reports about key obstacles to the mission of the PM-designate.

Discussions among key political parties regarding the government lineup entered a serious phase in the past hours, sources close to Hariri said.

“Hariri already completed 90 percent of his government’s shape, with only few details awaiting amendment,” the sources said.

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