Beirut-There are signs that Lebanon’s cabinet line-up is imminent after major obstacles were removed following a near consensus to keep the Finance Ministry as part of the share of Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement.
Sources close to Berri said that the ministry, which is currently led by Amal official Ali Hassan Khalil, will remain with Amal under Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s new government.
Unlike with the formation of previous cabinets where the March 8 alliance used to insist on a one-third veto power, the deliberations on the formation of Hariri’s government have steered clear from such a dispute.
A high-ranking parliamentary source told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the election of President Michel Aoun “moved Lebanon from the phase of Taef 1 to Taef 2.”
“With the onset of the new stage, we have turned the page of Christian frustration and launched the stage of full implementation of the Taef,” said the source.
“The consolidation of the Taef (agreement) means creating the right balance in state institutions so that no single sect feels marginalized,” the source added.
The disputes that previous government used to witness on veto power are no longer applicable. Yet the rival parties are competing on the division of shares.
Sources close to Berri considered the next stage would witness the opening of channels of contact between different sides as a result of large-scale consensus on Hariri.
The sources stressed that the finance ministry will remain with Amal despite the insistence of the Lebanese Forces to bring at its helm an LF figure.
An official from Hariri’s Future Movement, former MP Mustafa Alloush, said the obstacles on the so-called sovereign portfolios (Interior, Foreign, Finance and Defense ministries) have been mostly resolved.
Alloush told Asharq Al-Awsat that the LF’s demand for the Finance Ministry remains the only hurdle.
“The LF insists on having a sovereign portfolio to compensate for its absence from previous governments and due to the role it played in facilitating Aoun’s election,” said the Future official.