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Lebanon: Disagreements between Political Parties Threaten Government Birth - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut – Lebanese political parties have issued conflicting statements about the expected date of the new government’s formation, as major obstacles are still hindering Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri’s mission, with the insistence of some blocs of having “key” ministerial portfolios.

Meanwhile, reports arose over the insistence of the Shiite blocs, represented by Amal and Hezbollah, to acquire the “vetoing third” by seeking to create a government of 30 ministers.

In this regard, the attention is focused today on Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, who is expected to deliver an evening televised speech, during which he will tackle the Cabinet issue.

On the other hand, the leader of Marada Movement, MP Suleiman Franjieh, is holding on his demand to have a “sovereign ministerial portfolio”, that would be commensurate with his movement’s representation in the country.

Culture Minister and Marada Bloc MP Raymond Ariji told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that his bloc was not responsible for the stalling in Cabinet’s formation.

“Either we acquire a ministry that would be proportionate to our political representation or we stay outside the government,” he stated.

Ariji reiterated Franjieh’s demands to have one of the following ministries: energy and water, public works or telecommunications.

He also described a recent meeting between Franjieh and Hariri as “positive”.

Meanwhile, the Central News Agency (CAN) quoted sources close to the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) as saying that “the birth of the government is expected within few days”.

The sources added that the Hariri-Franjieh meeting has produced several agreements, mainly Marada Bloc’s acquisition of the Education ministry within a Cabinet of 24 ministers.

For his part, Democratic Gathering Bloc MP Ghazi Aridi said he was concerned over the delay in forming the government. He warned that such delay would encourage “some people to attempt to renew the current parliament’s term”.

“This is very dangerous and could represent a new scandal in the political life”, he added.