Arslan Hits Back at Suleiman: Cabinet Not Only of Concern to Him, But Rather to All Lebanese

Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan on Sunday hit back at President Michel Suleiman over his stance on the cabinet formation process, stressing that the issue does not only concern the president but rather all Lebanese.

“I don't understand the president's insistence on pushing the country to a risky venture, as it is very dangerous to hand the reins of the critical situations in Lebanon to a government that doesn't enjoy the parliament's confidence and that doesn't represent the legislature, regardless of its composition,” Arslan said before popular delegations that visited him at his residence.

Suleiman had called on Monday for the “formation of a new cabinet that oversees the presidential election, even if it does not win a vote of confidence.”

But Arslan said “the president must not only be keen on the constitution and laws but also on the safety of the country.”

This approach “jeopardizes the country's safety and security and subjects national unity to further sharp polarization amid these difficult circumstances,” said Arslan, calling on Suleiman “not to tackle things in an improvised, nervous and haphazard manner, because the issue of the cabinet formation process is not only of concern to him, but rather to all Lebanese and to Lebanon's safety.”

Commenting on reports that the president was trying to exchange an extension of his term for a cabinet based on the so-called 6-9-9 formula, Arslan said: “There are a lot of reports in this regard but an extension is out of the question and won't approve it.”

“This is something separate from the issue of cabinet, because regarding this issue, we have not changed out stance: Lebanon needs a national unity cabinet, a cabinet that can defuse the current tensions in the country and alleviate the sharp polarization … It is not important to form a cabinet at any cost, because that would blow up the country,” the Druze leader added.

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