Hariri Visits Aoun as 'Draft Cabinet Line-Up' Surfaces
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri held talks Wednesday evening at the Baabda Palace with President Michel Aoun.
"Some details are being mulled regarding the cabinet line-up and the atmosphere is positive," said Hariri after the meeting.
Asked whether the cabinet line-up will be announced soon, the PM-designate said "God willing."
Several political parties had announced earlier in the day that the government might be formed “within 48 or 72 hours” after resolving the remaining obstacles.
MTV said Hariri submitted to Aoun a draft line-up that might be announced very soon.
The following is the draft line-up as reported by MTV:
- Shiites: Ali Hassan Khalil (Finance, AMAL Movement), Yassine Jaber (Public Works or Economy, AMAL), Ali Abdullah (Public Works or Economy, AMAL), Ali Fayyad (Industry or Agriculture, Hizbullah) and a fifth minister who would be loyal to the president.
- Maronites: Jebran Bassil (Foreign Affairs, Free Patriotic Movement), Bassam Yammine (Energy, Marada Movement), Ghattas Khoury (Culture, Mustaqbal Movement), Salim al-Sayegh (Education, Kataeb Party) and Pierre Raffoul (Labor, FPM).
- Sunnis: Saad Hariri (PM), Jamal al-Jarrah (Telecommunications, Mustaqbal), Nouhad al-Mashnouq (Interior, Mustaqbal), Mohammed Kabbara (Social Affairs or Environment, Mustaqbal), Moein al-Merehbi (Social Affairs or Environment, Mustaqbal).
- Greek Orthodox: Elias Bou Saab (Defense, FPM), Ibrahim Najjar (Justice, Lebanese Forces) and Ghassan Hasbani (Deputy PM, LF).
- Greek Catholic: Michel Pharaon (Tourism, LF) and Melhem Riachi (Information, LF).
- Druze: Marwan Hamadeh (Health, Democratic Gathering) and Lebanese Democratic Party chief MP Talal Arslan for a portfolio that is yet to be allocated.
- Armenians: Hagop Pakradounian (Tashnag Party) for a portfolio that is yet to be allocated and Jean Oghassabian (Administrative Development, Mustaqbal).
The political forces are pushing for forming the new Cabinet before Independence Day, which Lebanon marks on November 22.
According to media reports, a settlement has been reached under which the Lebanese Forces will be given the deputy premier post instead of a so-called sovereign portfolio.
“The biggest obstacle in the wrangling over services-related portfolios is revolving around Marada Movement's insistence to get one of three key portfolios – public works or energy or telecommunications,” LBCI television said.
Aoun's election and Hariri's appointment as premier-designate have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.
In a sign that Hariri's mission as premier might not be easy, Hizbullah's MPs declined to endorse him during binding parliamentary consultations.
Hariri is likely to struggle with his government's policy statement, which will have to make reference to Israel, as well as the war in Syria, both potential flashpoints with Hizbullah.