Mikati says may seek govt. reshuffle and may convene caretaker cabinet


Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said that he might seek a minor government reshuffle and that he will activate the caretaker cabinet.

In an interview with the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper, Mikati said he refuses to be “the captive of a certain stance,” noting that “circumstances and the national interest” are what will guide him in deciding the “nature” of the new government.

“That’s why I will not say whether it will be a political or non-political government, and this issue will only happen after consulting with the parliamentary blocs and independent MPs,” Mikati added.

And hoping for a “swift” government formation, the caretaker PM also hoped the presidential election will take place on time so that he would cede authority to a new government.

Noting that “harmony” has characterized the work of his current government, Mikati revealed that he may “propose a reshuffle of some ministers and portfolios.”

Mikati added that he will activate the work of the caretaker cabinet after being designated to form a new government, pointing out that he will convene the caretaker cabinet “if necessary, especially to follow up on the files of energy and negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.”

Prominent sources meanwhile told al-Akhbar newspaper that “the concerned political forces have in principle reached a confidential agreement to carry out a government reshuffle.”

“The first reshuffle will target the Sunni community’s ministerial seats, specifically the health and economy portfolios, amid reports that one of them will be given to Akkar’s Sunni MPs and the other to the Sunni MPs who are loyal to al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri,” the sources added.

“The reshuffle might target some names who are loyal to President Michel Aoun or the Free Patriotic Movement should MP Jebran Bassil wish to do so,” the sources went on to say.

“Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat will meanwhile demand the Druze seat that is currently occupied by Minister of the Displaced Issam Sharafeddine, who is among Talal Arslan’s share, in return for the Druze MPs granting their votes of confidence to Mikati’s government, so that it secures 65 votes,” the sources added.

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