Berri Calls for Formation of Cabinet Based on 6-9-9 Formula, Rejects Other Lineups

Speaker Nabih Berri rejected on Monday the formation of a cabinet based on any formula other than 6-9-9, describing it as a national unity government.

“Any other cabinet lineup will not be useful,” Berri said in comments published in As Safir newspaper.

He considered that any cabinet that “might be formed without consensus and agreement among political foes will turn into a burden on the country.”

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat had proposed the formation of a new cabinet in which the March 8 and 14 alliances would get nine ministers each and six ministers would be given to the centrists – President Michel Suleiman, Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam and Jumblat.

This formula, which Hizbullah agreed on, prevents a certain party from controlling the government by giving veto power to Hizbullah and its team and another veto power to March 14, he said.

Sources close to Salam told As Safir that contacts are ongoing to find a suitable formula to end the stalemate.

The sources pointed out that “it's time to form a capable government as the Presidential elections are near and a decision must be taken to save the country.”

Salam was appointed in April but has so far been unable to put together a government over the conditions and counter conditions set by the rivals parties as fears mount that the differences between the March 8 and 14 camps would lead to a vacuum the presidential post.

Suleiman's six-year tenure ends in May 2014, but the constitutional period to elect a new head of state begins on March 25, two months prior to the expiration of the president's mandate.

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