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Lebanon: New Government Solution Suggests Appointment of 32 Ministers

Lebanon: New Government Solution Suggests Appointment of 32 Ministers

Thursday, 6 December, 2018 - 08:45
President Michel Aoun speaks at the opening of the National Library in the presence of Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut- Caroline Akoum
Following a long stalemate in consultations over the formation of a new Lebanese government, talks emerged over a new proposal to appoint 32 ministers instead of 30, in an attempt to solve what has become known as “the Sunni knot”, represented by the demand of Hezbollah-backed March 8 coalition’s Sunnis for a ministerial portfolio.

This proposal is one of the three ideas put forward by caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who has recently assumed the task of resolving this node.

While sources close to the matter told Asharq Al-Awsat that Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri rejected the recent propositions, sources close to the premier said: “So far there is nothing new with regards to resolving the knot.”

On the other hand, presidential sources emphasized that if the concerned parties approved Bassil’s new suggestion, the issue would be solved and the principles of fair and just representation requested by President Michel Aoun would be fulfilled.

Amal Movement MP Ali Bazzi said on Wednesday that Speaker Nabih Berri “accepts the expansion of the government to 32 ministers,” underlining the need to speed up the formation of the government.

“We count on Bassil’s efforts with regard to the proposals to reach a final solution to the matter,” he said following a meeting with Berri.

On the other hand, the Central News Agency (Markaziah) quoted political sources with knowledge of the matter as saying that Hariri was still refusing to expand the government.

In its weekly meeting on Wednesday, FPM’s Strong Lebanon parliamentary bloc affirmed its commitment to Bassil’s recent efforts, stressing the need to form the government without any further delay in the wake of challenges facing the country.

In the same context, the Maronite Bishops Council expressed concern over “the absence of any glimmer of hope” in government’s formation. At their monthly meeting, the bishops noted that the reason behind stalling was due to “the adherence of each team to its demands, while the country’s economic and financial situation is worsening.”

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