Qassem Says Ball in PM-Designate's Court, Ahmed Hariri Hits Back
Hizbullah deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qassem insisted Friday that the ball is in the court of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri regarding the formation of the new government.
“As for us in Hizbullah, we have offered all facilitations to form the Lebanese government and from the very first day we stated our demands, which were not complicated, and the PM-designate accepted the demand to represent the party with three ministers,” Qassem said.
“Today the decision is in the hand of the PM-designate, because the problem is coming from him and the solution lies with him. He can resolve the situation by honoring the rule that he has laid out on representing each party according to its results in the parliamentary elections. He can represent the independent Sunnis of the Consultative Gathering with one minister and the problem would be resolved,” Hizbullah number two added.
“We have nothing more to offer. If we want to complete the cabinet line-up to form a national unity cabinet, PM-designate Saad Hariri is the only one who can resolve this issue. If he takes a decision today, the government will be formed, and if he takes a decision in a week, the government will be formed. This matter is his responsibility and he bears the full responsibility in this country,” Qassem went on to say.
Al-Mustaqbal Movement Secretary-General Ahmed Hariri snapped back at Qassem.
“The remarks of Hizbullah’s deputy secretary-general contradict with the truth and facts, seeing as everyone knows that the government line-up has been ready since two weeks and it only needs the names of Hizbullah’s ministers,” Hariri said.
“If it presents the names of its three ministers today, it would be formed today, and if it does so in a week, it will be formed after a week, and it bears the full responsibility of delay,” the Mustaqbal official added.
“The problem lies with Hizbullah and the solution lies with the PM-designate, according to his powers and the constitutional rules,” he went on to say.
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 pro-Hizbullah 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.
Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil is meanwhile trying to convince the rival parties to accept a settlement based on naming a “consensus” Sunni minister.