Report: Int'l Pressure Expedites Formation as New Draft Line-Up Emerges
International pressure managed to achieve major progress over the past hours in Lebanon’s cabinet formation process, resolving a host of reservations and mutual conditions, media reports said.
PM-designate Najib “Miqati informed the ex-PMs that he has become willing to visit the Baabda Palace in the coming hours -- Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday at the latest -- to submit a line-up of 24 ministers according to the 8-8-8 format,” al-Joumhouria newspaper quoted highly informed sources as saying.
Miqati will not accept any change to the line-up, “even if that leads to his resignation,” the sources added.
The daily added that the U.S.-French pressures pushed President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement to give up their “provocative” candidates.
The remaining obstacles are now limited to the justice, interior, energy and social affairs portfolios after an agreement was reached with the Marada Movement on naming Farid Doueihi as telecom minister, the sources said.
Marada will also be allocated the industry portfolio and has been asked to name a Greek Orthodox candidate for it instead of a Maronite candidate, the sources added.
Miqati is meanwhile insisting on naming Maj. Gen. Marwan Zein for the interior portfolio, while Aoun wants to name Raimond Tarabay for social affairs amid “Speaker Nabih Berri’s objection” seeing as Tarabay is “a close adviser” of FPM chief Jebran Bassil, the sources went on to say.
Aoun is meanwhile rejecting Miqati’s nomination of Carole Ayyat for the energy portfolio, fearing her previous ties to the various oil companies, the sources added.
Below is a list of some of the candidates on whom a final agreement has been reached, according to al-Joumhouria:
- Amal Movement: Finance (Youssef Khalil), Culture, Agriculture
- Hizbullah: Public Works, Labor
- President Aoun: Defense (Brig. Gen. Maurice Slim)
- SSNP: Economy (Ayman al-Haddad)
- Consensual ministers named by Aoun and Miqati: Marwan Munir Abu Fadel (Deputy PM), Abdallah Bou Habib (Foreign Affairs), Habib Ephrem (Information)
- Tashnag Party: Youth and Sport
- Miqati: Administrative Development (Nasser Yassine), Health (Firass Abiad)