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Lebanon Ends Vacuum, Faces Challenge of Forming New Era’s Cabinet - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut-Lebanon’s two and a half-year presidential vacuum will end on Monday after Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun is elected president, winning the support of the majority of parliamentary blocs with more than two-thirds of votes in the first round of elections.

But, several observers now fear new political obstacles would emerge with the attempts to form the new government expected to be chaired by head of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

This is why Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi invited all political blocs to be quick in forming the cabinet after the election of the president by abandoning their sectarian and political disputes.

Lebanese Forces official Melhem Riachi said in a television interview that “Hariri and Aoun will work hand in hand to quickly form a new cabinet by coordinating with all parliamentary blocs, on top of them Speaker Nabih Berri.”

Riachi, who is the LF media officer, expected the new government to see the light in around a month, saying the LF would facilitate the deliberations on the cabinet lineup by extending its hands to all parties.

Change and Reform bloc member MP Ibrahim Kanaan said that all data confirm the election of Aoun as president in the first round with a majority of around 90 votes.

Head of FPM and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said there would be no losers on Monday in Lebanon. 

During an FPM annual dinner in Zahle, Bassil said that his party would turn Lebanon into a true country and not destroy it.

And while Berri continues to reject the election of Aoun as president, similar to the position of head of the Marada Movement, Suleiman Franjieh, in addition to some political forces, chief of the so-called Hezbollah parliamentary bloc MP Mohammed Raad said that the party was unimpressed by recent steps taken by some to endorse the candidacy of Aoun for president.

Raad said although the country has taken a step forward at the internal level, the party was very cautious in dealing with the latest political developments.

The MP said: “There is complete agreement between Secretary General of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and head of Amal Movement Berri over this Constitutional move.”

Meanwhile, the FPM is preparing to celebrate on Monday in several Lebanese regions following the parliamentary session during which Aoun would be elected president.

Posters and banners welcoming Aoun were lifted in the streets of areas where the FPM has popular support. Celebrations will also be held on Monday night in Dbayeh, a northern suburb of the capital Beirut, and in several public places.