Beirut – The formation of the new Lebanese government remains a subject of debate between the different political factions, which are still fighting over “sovereign ministerial portfolios”.
Ain al-Tineh visitors quoted Speaker Nabih Berri as saying on Thursday that the cabinet formation was still “at its early stages”, stressing, however, his “positive relation with President Michel Aoun.”
Following a meeting with Berri, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that disagreements with the president were over. The sources quoted Berri as saying: “Things between us have taken a positive path”.
Berri stressed his insistence on preserving Amal and Hezbollah’s previous government share, which includes the ministries of finance, industry, public works and youth and sports.
He noted in this regard that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri had said in earlier remarks that the new government’s portfolio distribution would be the same as that in the current cabinet, as only few months separate the country from the parliamentary elections, which will bring out a new and fresh executive authority.
Berri told his visitors that he was ready to mediate with the head of Marada Movement, MP Suleiman Franjieh, to accept the education ministry, adding that Hariri preferred to negotiate directly with the lawmaker.
Meanwhile, Future Bloc MP Samir Jisr told Asharq Al-Awsat that he was confident about the imminent formation of the government. He added that the main obstacles were resolved during the meeting held on Independence Day at the Baabda Palace.
For his part, Minister of Public Works Ghazi Zoaiter said he hoped the new government would be formed as soon as possible to assume its national responsibilities until the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Kataeb Bloc MP Elie Marouni called on the formation of a technocrat cabinet, which would oversee the adoption of a modern electoral law that provides the best representation for the Lebanese people.
On Thursday, Aoun received congratulatory cables on the occasion of Independence Day from French President Francois Hollande and Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
“Your election and the designation of a new Prime Minister constitute a new phase for Lebanon. Lebanese politicians proved their capacity of assuming responsibilities and putting end to the presidential vacuum,” Hollande said in his letter.
The French president also hoped that a government of national unity would be quickly formed, reiterating his support to Lebanon.