Lebanese Parliament Speaker ‘Pessimistic’ on Govt. Formation Prospects

Lebanese Parliament Speaker ‘Pessimistic’ on Govt. Formation Prospects

Saturday, 6 October, 2018 - 17:45
Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. (NNA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese parliament Speaker Nabih Berri expressed on Saturday his pessimism over the prospects that a new government will be formed soon amid the ongoing disputes between the rival Christian parties of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and Lebanese Forces (LF) over the distribution of portfolios.

Five months after parliamentary elections were held, Berri said that the process of forming a new government returned “to zero”.

"We have gone back to zero," Berri told Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar. "There had been signs of a resolution, but after yesterday's statements I have become pessimistic."

Throughout these five months, there has been no sign of the concessions sought by Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri that would enable the formation of a unity government that can get to work on badly needed economic reforms.

Politicians are warning that Lebanon faces an economic crisis.

On Friday the Christian parties clashed over how power should be divided in the government, casting doubt over Hariri's prediction on Thursday that an agreement would be reached soon.

Caretaker Foreign Minister and head of the FPM Jebran Bassil set on Friday a new condition for the government formation by proposing that each parliamentary bloc be granted one minister for every five seats won in the May elections.

His new standard would allow his parliamentary bloc to take six ministers in the new cabinet, in return of only three to the LF.

The LF rejected the new conditions and said Bassil was not responsible for forming the new cabinet.

“The only standard we will follow is the popular one, which allows us to receive one third of Christian ministers,” it added.

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