Miqati Proposes New Cabinet Formula Amid Continued Bickering Over Interior Portfolio

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A cabinet formula was proposed by Premier-designate Najib Miqati during a meeting between Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil and the advisors of Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, An Nahar daily said Wednesday.

The newspaper said the proposed 30 seats in the new cabinet are divided as follows:

Two for the president: A Maronite and an Orthodox.

Six for the premier-designate: Five Sunnis and one Orthodox.

Three for MP Walid Jumblat: Two Druze and one Sunni.

MP Michel Aoun: Three Maronites, two Catholics and one Orthodox.

MP Suleiman Franjieh: One Maronite and one Orthodox.

Tashnag: Two ministers.

Minister Talal Arslan or Marwan Khaireddine.

Berri: Three Shiites and one Catholic.

Hizbullah: Three Shiites.

As for the sixth Maronite minister who would get the interior ministry, he should be named in agreement between the president, the premier-designate and the Free Patriotic Movement leader, An Nahar said.

However, President Michel Suleiman and FPM leader Michel Aoun continue to hold onto the ministry. Aoun hasn’t yet accepted this formula, particularly that Suleiman is keen on giving the portfolio to a former army officer with close ties to him, the daily reported.

It added that Aoun is also insisting on his demand for the defense portfolio rather than giving it to his ally Franjieh. Aoun held talks with Franjieh in Rabiyeh on Wednesday. The Marada leader left the FPM leader’s residence without making any statement.

Furthermore, sources close to Suleiman told As Safir daily that the president holds onto his constitutional right to reject signing the decree on the cabinet lineup if he doesn’t get a balanced share in the government.

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