Lebanon’s Speaker: No Breakthrough in Cabinet Formation

Lebanon’s Speaker: No Breakthrough in Cabinet Formation

Thursday, 8 November, 2018 - 07:30
Berri met with deputies on Wednesday/NNA
Beirut - Caroline Akoum
Lebanon’s Maronite Bishops on Wednesday called for removing “last-minute obstacles to the announcement of the new government," while Speaker Nabih Berri said there was no breakthrough in the lineup.

Following their weekly meeting with Berri, deputies quoted the speaker as saying that no solution has been found yet to the representation of the March 8 coalition’s Sunni deputies in the next cabinet, a request made by Hezbollah before handing Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri the names of the party’s proposed ministers.

In this regard, Hezbollah-allied Sunni deputies met Wednesday in Beirut and held Hariri responsible for the delay in the cabinet formation process.

Hariri traveled to Paris a week ago. Local reports said he would stay in the French capital until next week to attend the November 11 World War I commemorations.

On Wednesday, Hariri’s Mustaqbal Movement said the PM-designate had made a final decision not to name any of the independent Sunni deputies in his new cabinet.

Two days ago, a lawmaker claimed that Berri had informed him that he had not heard from Hariri any rejection to appoint one of the March 8 alliance’s Sunni MPs in his next cabinet.

However, Mustaqbal swiftly denied the reports.

For their part, the Maronite bishops highlighted the necessity to "liberate" the upcoming cabinet from internal and external parties.

"Let the government be the gift on Independence Day, which is two weeks away," the Bishops said in a statement following their meeting in Bkirki.

They also deplored the spat on the distribution of portfolios.

Former Mustaqbal deputy Mustafa Alloush told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bishops’ plea was a sign that the formation process has become very challenging.

Meanwhile, a senior political source close to Hezbollah told Reuters it was up to President Michel Aoun to resolve the problem because neither Hezbollah nor Hariri could give ground.

“Neither can Hariri retreat, nor can the (Hezbollah-allied) Sunnis, nor can Hezbollah. If the president wants a government he has to take the responsibility,” the source said.

With regards to a two-day parliamentary session scheduled for next Monday, Berri described it as more than necessary, saying the legislature would continue to assume its responsibilities and that it would not allow the country to remain paralyzed.

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