New Govt. Hurdles: Suleiman’s Veto, Arslan’s Demand, Naming 6th Sunni Minister

Three new obstacles have risen in the government formation process culminating in differences over naming the sixth Sunni minister, Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan’s demand for a Cabinet portfolio, and President Michel Suleiman’s refusal to reappoint Adnan Sayyed Hussein as minister

The dispute over the sixth Sunni minister arose when Speaker Nabih Berri’s advisor MP Ali Hasan Khalil and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s political advisor Hussein al-Khalil held talks with Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati on Friday afternoon.

The meeting was expected to tackle the distribution of portfolios among the various political blocs, but it developed into a disagreement over Miqati’s insistence to appoint Faisal Karami, son of former Premier Omar Karami, to the Cabinet and Hizbullah’s demand to appoint Ahmed Karami instead.

The party had reportedly informed the former PM that his son would be handed a government portfolio, but probably had a change of opinion to cater to its ally, Ahmed Karami.

The talks also addressed Arslan’s refusal to be granted a state ministry portfolio, reported the daily An Nahar on Saturday.

The Lebanese Democratic Party had announced Friday night “its absolute rejection of proposals that it be represented in government by the position of minister of state.”

It also voiced its reservations over the vague positions over what it described as “discrimination” adopted by the Druze sect.

As for the third obstacle, Suleiman refused Sayyed Hussein’s reappointment to Cabinet in response to his resignation from the previous government without consulting him.

The president remained adamant on his position even after Hizullah suggested abandoning two ministers from its share.

Sayyed Hussein was appointed to the previous government as being allied to the president and his resignation in January along with March 8 camp ministers led to the toppling of the government headed by Premier Saad Hariri.

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