Bassil Says His Bloc Got 'More than It Wanted' in New Govt.
The Free Patriotic Movement-led Strong Lebanon bloc has been allocated “11 ministers” in the new government and this is “more than it was asking for,” FPM chief MP Jebran Bassil said on Thursday.
The eleventh minister referred to by Bassil is Hassan Mrad, who was nominated by the Consultative Gathering – a grouping of six Hizbullah-backed Sunni MPs.
Under a settlement reached by the parties, Mrad will represent the Gathering in the government but will also attend the meetings of Bassil's bloc. He would also vote in cabinet alongside the Consultative Gathering.
“We never asked for 11 ministers but no one has the right to say that we are prohibited from getting 11 ministers if our parliamentary representation entitles us to such a share,” Bassil, who retained the foreign affairs portfolio, said in an interview on LBCI television.
“There are no 'three tens' in the government,” Bassil added, referring to a hypothesis that the cabinet line-up has given ten ministers to the FPM and President Michel Aoun, ten to Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and the Lebanese Forces and ten to Hizbullah, its allies and the Progressive Socialist Party.
“Had we accepted the results of the elections from the very beginning, we would not have witnessed this delay,” Bassil went on to say.
Noting that the Strong Lebanon bloc is not fully consisted of FPM members, Bassil said it also comprises independent figures, the Tashnag Party and also the “Consultative Gathering”.
“The proportional electoral law ended unilateralism in Lebanon's sects and this has been reflected in the national unity government,” Bassil added.
He also lamented that, “unfortunately, some parties tried to establish new constitutional norms” but were “confronted” by the FPM.
He added: “This country cannot run through dictations. We succeeded in forming a government through unified standards and mutual concessions.”
“We all want to work together in this government. We will confront those who want to obstruct us and we will cooperate with those who want to cooperate with us,” Bassil went on to say.