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Franjieh’s Portfolio 'The Last Knot' Facing the Lineup of Lebanon’s New Cabinet - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut- A last effort is exerted in Lebanon to announce a government lineup on Monday, one day before Independence Day that coincides next Tuesday, as requested by President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

However, the birth of a new government looks difficult as each party was still attached to its demands and positions, particularly the ministerial portfolio that should supposedly be offered to the Marada Movement headed by former minister MP Suleiman Franjieh.

Both Christian parties, the Free Patriotic Movement led by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and the Lebanese Forces headed by Samir Geagea, refuse that Franjieh receives a main portfolio, such as the Health, Energy or the Telecommunication ministries.

However, the former presidential candidate (Franjieh) is attached to one of the ministries, using a coverage provided by the two Shi’ite parties, the Amal Movement and the so-called Hezbollah, in addition to the rest of the March 8 forces.

The two Shi’ite parties were attached to Franjieh and a formula based on the fact that Bnashai (the residence of Franjieh) is a mandatory passage to any new cabinet, similar to what was the case of Rabieh (the residence of Aoun), which was the mandatory passage to the presidential crisis, according to March 8 sources on Saturday.

The sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the LF prefers that both the Marada Movement and the Phalange “Kataeb” Party do not participate in the new government, the reason why the Lebanese Forces was offering both parties secondary portfolios, such as the Culture and the Tourism ministries.

“However, the LF does not realize there would not be any cabinet without Franjieh represented by a satisfactory portfolio,” the sources added.

A Marada leading figure, who wished to remain anonymous, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the “period of offering concessions had gone.”

All developments signal that whenever the “Marada knot” is solved, a new cabinet will be directly announced, due to the fact that the Phalange Party had not requested a key portfolio in the new lineup.