BEIRUT: A new Cabinet is expected to be formed in the next 48 hours, bringing to end a six-month-long deadlock after LF leader Samir Geagea agreed to be part of the government albeit under unfavorable circumstances.
Speaking to reporters Monday, Geagea appeared to succumb to the conditions imposed by the Free Patriotic Movement, accepting a diluted bloc of ministries.
“If the tables were turned, we’d try to be fair with the allocation of ministries,” he said, accusing his Christian rivals of attempting to pile pressure on his party to capitulate to their demands.
The highly anticipated news conference laid to bed concerns that the LF would abstain from the new Cabinet, after ceding ground and accepting the position of deputy prime minister, as well as the Ministries of Labor, Culture and Social Affairs.
The LF faced an uphill battle after Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt struck a deal with President Michel Aoun, giving up the nomination of the third Druze minister.
This left Geagea alone to try and thwart the FPM’s onslaught, given the latter's parliamentary bloc of 29 MPs compared to the LF’s 15.
After Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri told the LF that a Cabinet would ultimately be formed with or without their inclusion, Geagea relinquished his claim to the much coveted Justice Ministry currently occupied by FPM affiliate Salim Jreissati.
Hariri is expected to present Aoun a final draft lineup this afternoon, sources familiar with the negotiations told Annahar, despite a major obstacle yet to be resolved.
Sources have maintained that Hassan Nasrallah refused to name his ministers before Hariri approves the appointment of a pro-Hezbollah Sunni candidate in the Cabinet, a demand vehemently opposed by the Premier.
Hariri has continuously rejected the 6-MP-strong Sunni bloc's demands to be included in the Cabinet, arguing that they lack affiliation to a major party.
An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.