Conflicting reports on govt. as Bassil insists on appointing Maalouf, Jreissati


As informed ministerial sources told al-Liwaa newspaper in remarks published Wednesday that the new government might be formed at the end of this week or next week at the latest, other sources said the formation process has suffered a “setback.”

Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil’s “insistence on appointing ex-MP Eddy Maalouf, ex-minister Salim Jreissati and figures close to the FPM as ministers has led to impeding the formation efforts,” informed sources told al-Liwaa.

The sources added that President Michel Aoun “will give up the six political ministers in return for naming an FPM member who is Eddy Maalouf as minister, but there are obstacles in the way, seeing as Maalouf cannot take the social affairs portfolio from incumbent minister Hector Hajjar because he does not enjoy the technical expertise of the latter.”

“This technical obstacle stems from his inability to run the ministry and PM-designate (Najib) Mikati is not opposed to his appointment,” the sources added.

As for the controversy over the Druze seat of Minister of the Displaced Issam Sharafeddine, the sources said Bassil has proposed replacing him with Tarek al-Daoud due to the latter’s support for the FPM in West Bekaa and Rashaya in the parliamentary elections.

“Two (caretaker) minister had been named in agreement between Mikati and Aoun, Economy Minister Amin Salam and State Minister for Administrative Development Affairs Najla Riachi, and now there is an agreement on allotting economy to Mikati and development to Aoun,” the sources added.

“Aoun and Bassil have chosen a reputable figure from the Catholic Armenian community in agreement with the Tashnag Party in order to replace Najla Riachi, and it has been agreed that Mikati would pick a Sunni figure from Akkar for the economy portfolio,” the sources said.

As for the foreign affairs portfolio, Bassil “will name an FPM figure and the name is still undisclosed,” the sources added.

The finance portfolio will meanwhile go to ex-MP Yassine Jaber while the telecom portfolio will be allocated to Ziad Shalfoun, the sources went on to say.

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat is meanwhile inclined to name a PSP figure to replace caretaker Education Minister Abbas al-Halabi.

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