Report: Govt. Hurdle at its ‘Peak’, Bassil Meets Grand Mufti
Lebanon’s government formation gridlock has reached its “peak” amid growing concerns that further delay plunges the country into a “grave crisis”, as Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil “plans an initiative” to solve the so-called Sunni hurdle, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.
Ministerial sources have warned of the consequences of delay prolonging for around six months since the designation of PM Saad Hariri.
“So far, things are not satisfactory. The political and government crisis is at its peak. The economic situation has witnessed a serious shake-up in recent days, and we fear that the country has entered the countdown phase of the big fall,” the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told the daily.
Meanwhile, caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil held talks with Grand Sunni Mufti of the Republic Abdullatif Deryan over the government issue.
On Tuesday, Bassil held talks with Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat.
“Talks have focused on efforts to facilitate and push forward the government formation process,” FPM sources told the daily.
“The two men exchanged ideas on possible solutions to solve the government hurdle. Both parties have affirmed the stability of bilateral relationship between the two, mainly in the Mountains region,” added the daily.
Reports have said earlier that Bassil has presented an initiative to solve the Sunni hurdle in his talks with Speaker Nabih Berri and Hariri on Monday.
“It involves an exit that calls for naming the sixth Sunni minister from those labeled as centrist Sunnis instead of him being from the (pro-Hizbullah) six Sunni MPs or provocative to the PM-designate,” they said.
“It is likely that the sixth Sunni minister will be the one whom Hariri has exchanged with the President for a Christian minister, in order to keep Hariri’s share intact,” reports said.
The government was on the verge of formation on October 29 after the Lebanese Forces accepted the portfolios that were assigned to it but a last-minute hurdle over the representation of the aforementioned Sunni MPs surfaced.
Hizbullah has insisted that the six Sunni MPs should be given a seat in the government, refraining from providing Hariri with the names of its own ministers in a bid to press him.
Aoun -- a Hizbullah ally -- threw his support behind Hariri and rejected the demand during a TV interview, noting that the aforementioned MPs are “individuals and not a bloc.”
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah later announced that his party would accept any solution that the six Sunni MPs would accept but the lawmakers have so far remained defiant.