Report: Govt. formation efforts enter final and decisive week


The current week will be the “final” week to settle the cabinet formation file, a senior political leader said.

“If the government is not formed this week, it will be totally impossible to form it after that, because the country will enter next week in the 60-day constitutional deadline for the election of a new president, and the country will remain governed by a caretaker cabinet,” the political leader told al-Joumhouria newspaper in remarks published Wednesday.

The leader added that a meeting between President Michel Aoun and PM-designate Najib Mikati on Wednesday morning would follow overnight talks between Baabda and the Grand Serail through mediators who included a security chief.

“Until a late hour overnight, the contacts had not led to a decisive result, due to the two men’s insistence on two conflicting visions that do not allow for reaching a cabinet line-up that would be accepted by the two parties,” highly informed sources told al-Joumhouria.

“The president is still insisting on enlarging the cabinet and adding six state ministers to it,” the sources said.

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil is meanwhile clinging to caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam for “unknown reasons and without a clear and accurate justification,” the sources added.

Informed sources meanwhile said that Mikati has refused the enlargement proposal, because it “might open the door to changes that may be demanded by other leaders.”

Al-Joumhouria added that caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil might be replaced by ex-MP Yassine Jaber and that Hezbollah does not want to replace its two ministers – Ali Hamieh and Mustafa Bayram.

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