Miqati Proposes Several Formulas to Suleiman Amid Conflicting Reports on Franjieh-Aoun Meeting

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Najib Miqati’s circles have said that the premier-designate is discussing with President Michel Suleiman several cabinet formulas, adding that the head of state is an “essential constitutional partner in the cabinet formation” process and has every right to give his opinion on the issue.

The circles criticized political parties that are making accusations against Suleiman, saying this would hinder the formation of the government.

Baabda palace sources told An Nahar that Suleiman was also in contact with Speaker Nabih Berri who is seeking to suggest solutions to the obstacles facing the cabinet formation process.

Meanwhile, Miqati pursued efforts to mend fences between Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun over the interior ministry portfolio.

Miqati is making efforts to grant the ministry to an independent figure in a bid to eliminate one of the major obstacles delaying the formation of the new cabinet.

Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat said that Suleiman is also insisting on granting the defense ministry to an independent personality.

However, Aoun rejected this week a proposal made by the president to appoint retired Army Brig. Fares Soufia at the head of the interior ministry. FPM sources told the English-language The Daily Star that Aoun snubbed the proposal because Soufia was known to be very close to the president.

Informed sources told As Safir daily that Aoun was until Wednesday night still holding onto the interior ministry.

His meeting with Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh in Rabiyeh on Wednesday was described as positive. Franjieh’s circles told As Safir that the MP won’t accept the interior ministry in case it was allotted to him.

However, an FPM source told The Daily Star that the two politicians discussed the possibility of suggesting to parties involved in the government formation that Franjieh be allotted the interior ministry portfolio, especially since he is accepted by all groups.

“Franjieh’s visit to Rabiyeh has put an end to differences in opinion between the two leaders,” said the FPM source. “It’s very likely that Franjieh has entrusted Aoun with negotiating shares in the government on his behalf.”

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