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Report: Suleiman, Mustaqbal Ties Deteriorate over Cabinet Formation Process

The ongoing political deadlock destabilized the ties between President Michel Suleiman and al-Mustaqbal movement, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday.

According to the daily, tension escalated between Suleiman and head of al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc MP Fouad Saniora after the President voiced consensus over the formation of a cabinet based on 6-9-9 formula, which enraged al-Mustaqbal movement.

The newspaper reported that Suleiman tackled the matter with Saniora during a recent meeting between the two officials, which angered Saniora, prompting him to refute the suggestion.

“Form a government without al-Mustaqbal movement,” Saniora told the President.

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat recently proposed the formation of a new cabinet in which the March 8 and 14 alliances would get nine ministers each and six ministers would be given to the centrists – Suleiman, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam and Jumblat.

This formula, which Hizbullah agreed on, prevents a certain party from controlling the government by giving veto power to Hizbullah and its team and another veto power to March 14, the Druze leader said.

Salam was appointed in April but has so far been unable to put together a government over the conditions and counter conditions set by the rivals parties as fears mount that the differences between the March 8 and 14 camps would lead to a vacuum the presidential post.

Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014, but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of the president's mandate.


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