Berri, Jumblat Seek to End Political Deadlock through Direct Contacts

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Speaker Nabih Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat are carrying out direct contacts to tackle the lingering political crises, in specific the cabinet formation stalemate.

According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, Berri and Jumblat are seeking to end the cabinet deadlock based on President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam's determination to form a government at the beginning of 2014.

The Speaker and Druze leader delegated party officials, according to the daily, to discuss the crises.

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.

Berri stressed in comments published in As Safir newspaper that any cabinet should be formed through consensus among political foes despite the lineup of ministers.

He stressed that the 6-9-9 formula is a guarantee to all and there's no excuse not to adopt it.

Jumblat had 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, Salam and Jumblat.

This formula, which the March 8 alliance 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, he said.

However, the March 14 coalition rejects this formula and Salam's 8-8-8 formula, arguing that Hizbullah shouldn't participate in any cabinet for being a key player in battles in war-torn Syria.

Berri expressed surprise how the March 14 alliance, including al-Mustaqbal movement, is calling for the formation of a neutral government while it was rejected before.

He pointed out that all points of view are clear and there's a critical need to take the necessary decisions after carrying out specific calculations.

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