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Mediations for Forming Lebanon’s Cabinet Stalled at Berri’s Proposal

Mediations for Forming Lebanon’s Cabinet Stalled at Berri’s Proposal

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018 - 08:15
Berri met President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Baracke, on Monday/NNA
Beirut - Nazeer Rida
Efforts to form a new Lebanese cabinet were still stuck at the March 8 Sunni node, also known as the six independent deputies, with no fresh developments expected to change the current political stalemate, despite calls from concerned parties to speed up the formation of a new government.

On Monday, Speaker Nabih Berri joined those calls by echoing the position of President Michel Aoun, and said, “There are no more room left for recreation, we should have a government, not today, but yesterday.”

Currently, mediation is stalled at the proposal carried last week by caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil from Berri, who later said that his proposal was overpassed. However, Bassil asserted Monday the Speaker’s ideas to find an exit for the cabinet crisis were not placed behind.

Sources close to the formation process told Asharq Al-Awsat that Berri had suggested during his meeting with Bassil last week to exchange the Sunni minister from the share of President Aoun with another one who represents the six Sunni independent ministers.

Based on Berri’s proposal, Bassil instead suggested ending a similar deal reached earlier to exchange a Christian minister from the share of Aoun with a Sunni minister from the share of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, a step that would lead to appointing a representative of the six independent Sunni deputies from the share of the PM-designate, which is rejected by the Sunni leader.

Despite assertions that the formation process was stalemated at the proposal of Berri, deputies close to Bassil said the minister has not ended his mediation.

“There are behind-the-scenes efforts to mature a government lineup,” the deputies said.

Meanwhile, Deputy House Speaker, Elie Ferzli, on Monday maintained that Bassil's initiative to push forward the government formation process was still ongoing and that it must eventually yield results.

"Minister Bassil is still on the go and it carries particular dynamics which must eventually yield results to solve the government crisis," Ferzli told an interview with Voice of Lebanon radio station.

"Bassil's initiative is the only [solution] that may lead to results and there is no alternative to it, pending the position of Hariri as to meeting with the independent Sunni MPs," he said.

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