Report: Defense Portfolio Won't be Given to Lebanese Forces

The defense ministry will not be allotted to the Lebanese Forces in the new cabinet line-up because of the party's political project which reports said it “contradicts the combat doctrine of the Lebanese army,” media reports said Thursday.

The LF will not be given one of the so-called sovereign portfolios in the new government, mainly the defense ministry, as long as the party carries a political project that deviates from the army's combat doctrine, said al-Akhbar daily.

In light of the adherence of Speaker Nabih Berri to be given the Finance Ministry, PM-designate Saad Hariri to be given the Interior Ministry and the Free Patriotic Movement the Foreign Ministry, it was almost impossible for the LF to get the fourth remaining sovereign portfolio, the Defense, in spite of the agreement between the party and the FPM to split the Christian shares equally between the two, added the daily.

According to media reports, a settlement has been reached under which the LF will be given the deputy premier post instead of a sovereign portfolio.

The formation of the new government is facing some obstacles in light of the demands of political parties to be given specific portfolios.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri held talks Wednesday evening at the Baabda Palace with President Michel Aoun where he said that “some details are being mulled regarding the cabinet line-up and the atmosphere is positive.”

Several political parties had announced that the government might be formed “within 48 or 72 hours” after resolving the remaining obstacles.

The political forces are pushing for forming the new Cabinet before Independence Day, which Lebanon marks on November 22.

Source: Naharnet

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