March 8 Alliance Finished but Hizbullah Seeks to Restore Berri-Aoun Tiesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
More Free Patriotic Movement officials confirmed on Thursday their rift with the rest of the March 8 alliance's parties despite alleged efforts by Hizbullah to bridge the gap between Speaker Nabih Berri and FPM leader Michel Aoun.
In remarks to As Safir daily, Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil, who is an FPM official, reiterated that his party was no longer part of the March 8 coalition that includes Hizbullah and Berri's Amal movement.
He said he informed Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam more than 45 days ago that he shouldn't consider the FPM and the other parties a single team.
“Political lineups have been shattered,” he said. “Neither March 8 nor March 14 have stayed the way they are.”
The new developments should facilitate the formation of the government, he added.
Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who is also an FPM official, echoed similar remarks. “We have never been part of March 8 so that we separate ourselves from it,” he told al-Joumhouria newspaper.
“The differences with this camp are the focus of discussions to assess the next stage and learn lessons from them,” he said.
Kanaan stressed that each party has its own weight in negotiating for shares in the new cabinet.
Despite the remarks of Bassil and Kanaan, Hizbullah sources told al-Joumhouria that the party would exert efforts to restore the ties between Aoun and Berri, who has also stressed the March 8 alliance no longer exists.
Differences between the FPM on one hand and Hizbullah and Amal began emerging late May over the extension of parliament’s term, which Aoun opposed, and more recently over the extension of Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji's mandate.
Berri has put the extension on the agenda of a parliamentary session in addition to around 44 other draft-laws. But Aoun's Change and Reform bloc that opposes the extension rejects to attend it.
The speaker told several local dailies this week that he agreed with Aoun on strategic issues such as the resistance but not on local affairs.