Aridi: New Government Cannot Be Formed in Light of Unyielding Conditions

Caretaker Transportation and Public Works Minister Ghazi al-Aridi criticized on Wednesday the conditions being placed in the government formation process.

He said after holding talks with Speaker Nabih Berri: “A new cabinet cannot be formed in light of unyielding conditions.”

The Progressive Socialist Party “does not support the formation of a technocrat government or a neutral one,” added the minister.

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi had recently demanded the formation of a neutral government ahead of reaching an agreement on a political one.

Addressing the dispute over the failure of the Constitutional Council to convene to tackle appeals over the extension of parliament's mandate, Aridi rejected accusations that some judges are obstructing the needed quorum for the Council to meet.

“We did not alter our position on the new government before or after the Council was set to meet,” he explained.

“We did not pressure any side to advocate the extension of parliament's term and those who voted for it should assume the responsibilities of their decision,” the minister stated.

The decision to extend the term was taken due to the poor security situation in Lebanon and the recent developments in the northern city of Tripoli and other areas demonstrated that MPs were right to approve the extension, Aridi stressed.

“We have long maintained contacts with Berri and we have collaborated together to avert strife in Lebanon given the various political crises the country has been through,” he said.

“Examples of the ties with Berri are needed now more than ever due to the frequency of security incidents in the country, which are an ominous sign,” he added.

Parliament approved the extension of its term for 17 months due to the political blocs' failure to reach an agreement over a new parliamentary electoral law, which has consequently prompted the postponement of the parliamentary elections that were supposed to be held in June.

President Michel Suleiman and the Change and Reform bloc have however objected to the extension, submitting petitions to the Constitutional Council.

For the third time, the half-Muslim half-Christian council was not able to meet on Tuesday over the boycott of three judges, two Shiites and one Druze, who have come under the political pressure of their leaders.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved.