Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s cabinet formation efforts were in tatters on Monday after the Free Patriotic Movement suggested giving up its demands for the interior ministry in return for getting the finance portfolio.
“We were at first demanding the finance portfolio but we met the demands to keep it with the Sunni sect and suggested getting the interior (ministry) instead,” Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil told As Safir daily in remarks published Monday.Full Story
President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun were still at loggerheads on Sunday over the interior ministry portfolio and the Change and Reform bloc chief’s insistence to name most of the Christian ministers.
While Premier-designate Najib Miqati stressed he was keen on the constitution and balance of power, there were dim hopes of forming a cabinet soon amid the bickering between Suleiman and Aoun.Full Story
Caretaker Labor Minister Butros Harb noted on Saturday that the government formation is not only facing obstacles from the March 14 camp, but also “greater ones” from the March 8 camp.
He noted after meeting with United Nations Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General Filippo Grandi: “The greater problem lies between Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati and President Michel Suleiman and between the forces that nominated the premier-designate to his position.”Full Story
Political sources monitoring the formation of the new government revealed that the recent meeting Thursday night between Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati with Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil “has not overcome the several obstacles regarding FPM leader MP Michel Aoun’s demands over the new cabinet, including his demand for the interior ministry portfolio.”
They told the daily An Nahar in remarks published on Saturday that House Speaker Nabih Berri had proposed that Aoun be granted the foreign ministry, while the speaker would assume the energy and defense ministries and the president would retain the interior ministry, but the suggestion was rejected.Full Story
The process of the government formation has gone back to “square one” although the speeches of March 14 officials on ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s assassination anniversary made it clear that the coalition won’t take part in Premier-designate Najib Miqati’s cabinet, informed political sources told An Nahar daily.
The newspaper ruled out the possibility of having a cabinet line-up ready by the end of February, saying Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun’s demands are crippling the government formation process despite efforts by some teams from the March 8 forces to facilitate Miqati’s task.Full Story
President Michel Suleiman condemned on Thursday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s recent threat against Lebanon, saying that it was a violation of international law and U.N. Security Council resolution 1701.
The president said that the threat was aimed at lifting the Israeli army and the new Israeli chief of staff’s morale “because he knows full well that entering Lebanon is no loner a walk in the park as demonstrated by the July 2006 war.”Full Story
Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati is reportedly preparing two draft cabinet line-ups – one includes March 14 ministers along with the Hizbullah-led alliance and the other is only made up of March 8 figures.
Miqati visited President Michel Suleiman on Tuesday night and informed him about his consultations with the different parties on the formation of the cabinet.Full Story
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Wednesday stressed that should the rival March 14 camp decide to join Najib Miqati's cabinet, it must "act differently" regarding the controversial issues that felled Saad Hariri's government.
In an interview on his movement's mouthpiece OTV, Aoun went on to say: "Should the other camp agree on our plan for solving the controversial issues, we will give them the 'blocking-third'" veto power in cabinet.Full Story
Caretaker Energy Minister Jebran Bassil slammed what he called the “subversive opposition” of the March 14 forces, accusing them of committing “national treason.”
Bassil said speeches made by March 14 officials during ex-Premier Rafik Hariri’s sixth assassination anniversary in BIEL on Monday were a sign that the coalition was putting conditions that contradict with March 8 stances.Full Story
The European Union's top diplomat Catherine Ashton will visit Lebanon on Wednesday as part of a broader Middle East trip, a source at Lebanon's foreign ministry told German Press Agency dpa.
She is due to meet with President Michel Suleiman, Speaker Nabih Berri, outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Premier-designate Najib Miqati and Caretaker Minister Ali al-Shami during her four-hour visit.Full Story