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Lebanon: Government’s Formation in Last Stage - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut – Lebanon’s cabinet formation reached the last stage on Tuesday with the emergence of signs showing the new government of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri would be announced on Wednesday, informed sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“We do not expect that the cabinet formation would be postponed later than today (Wednesday),” the sources said.

After removing the obstacle on Monday related to MP Suleiman Franjieh’s Marada Movement by offering him the Public Works portfolio, sources said the March 8 forces have now settled their decision concerning the shares distributed between Speaker Nabih Berri, the so-called Hezbollah and their ally, Franjieh.

The sources said that announcing the new government awaits the “removal of some simple obstacles still suspended with the Free Patriotic Movement, although such obstacles are supposed to be solved after a solution was reached concerning the shares of the Lebanese Forces.”

The informed sources predicted that the FPM could now be spending the last hours to choose its own portfolios.

Other signs linked to the formalities surrounding the government lineup was expressed on Tuesday by Secretary of the Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan who said after meeting Hariri at the Central House in Beirut he hoped all obstacles would shortly be removed in respect with the constitutional authorities of both President Michel Aoun and Hariri.

Kanaan’s reservations were also expressed by former media officer of the Lebanese Forces Melhem Riachi, who said: “Things enormously progressed but there is distress in the way of dealing with the President and Prime Minister-designate.”

On Monday, Speaker Berri and Franjieh had agreed on a formula without consulting with President Aoun and Hariri, who are both constitutionally responsible for the government lineup.

Their agreement stipulated that the Marada Movement gets the Public Works portfolio while Speaker Nabih Berri’s party would receive the Education portfolio.

According to available information, the next government will include 24 ministers. The four leading portfolios will be distributed as followed: the Foreign Ministry to the FPM, the Interior Ministry to the Future Movement, the Finance Ministry to the Amal Movement and the Defense Ministry to the President.