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Fight for Ministries Hinders Gov't Formation in Lebanon

Jun 14

Fight for Ministries Hinders Gov't Formation in Lebanon

The struggle to obtain more ministries hinders the formation of a government in Lebanon, which urgently needs, due to its critical economic situation and surrounded by regional conflicts, the installation of a cabinet as quickly as possible.

The two most important Christian parties, Lebanese Forces (LF) and Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), are pushing for more portfolios in the ministerial team of 30 posts.

LF improved from 8 to 15 seats in the Parliament elected on May 6 last, while FPM jumped from 21 to 29, adding their allies.

According to the Minister of Culture and Acting Deputy Prime Minister, Ghattas Khoury, the Lebanese Forces want six seats and as well as the Patriotic Movement. 'In my opinion, it is impossible to meet those demands,' he said.

'There is consensus on the need to quickly form the Government to prevent the flames of the region from spreading over Lebanon,' the advisor to Prime Minister Saad Hariri added.

The latter presented to the head of state, Michel Aoun, a first version of the Cabinet that was not publicized, but leaks show that it tries to establish a balance between political groups and confessionals.

At the time, the acting Foreign Minister, Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement, declared that the results of the elections atomized the control of the hemicycle. Nobody has an absolute majority, he said.

Therefore, he added, the Cabinet should reflect national unity.

Bassil reiterated the need for rapid government training but said his party may expand its participation in the ministerial team.

Meanwhile, the head of Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, insisted that his group be considered on the same level as the Free Patriotic Movement.

The LF positions must be proportional to our parliamentary representation, he said.

If in the previous government we had four ministers, with eight deputies, now with 15 legislators, that number should be higher, Geagea said.