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Lebanon: 'Government formation stalled over Christian ministerial representation'

Lebanese President, Michel Aoun (L) meets Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri (R) in Beirut, Lebanon on October 22, 2020 [Lebanese Presidency/Anadolu Agency]
Lebanese President, Michel Aoun (L) meets Former Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Hariri (R) in Beirut, Lebanon on October 22, 2020 [Lebanese Presidency/Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese newspapers reported on Friday that the process of forming the new government has stalled after suspending all consultation and negotiation meetings.

The newspapers indicated that a dispute between the concerned parties over the share of Christian ministers in the government has been intensifying.

An-Nahar, Al-Joumhouria, Nidaa Al-Watan, Al-Akhbar, Al-Liwaa, and Al-Sharq newspapers stated that the principle of rotation between ministers from different sects has been the focus of the debate, as the team of President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Deputy Gebran Bassil, insist on having the Ministry of Energy in the new government.

The newspapers reported that the formation of the new government has been impeded by the obstinate position of Aoun and the Free National Movement, who insist on choosing Christian partisan personalities, which Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri opposes.

Hariri expressed that the president's wishes contradict the nature of the government of "non-partisan competencies" that he is willing to form, and even if the new government's members have political tendencies, they must hold the same distance from all parties. However, it emerged that all the names chosen by Bassil are affiliated with political currents.

READ: US to sanction leader of Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement

The newspapers divulged that there are concerns over the possible failure of the entire process and all efforts to form a new government due to the stubbornness of some parties. This may lead to escalating tensions in light of strong opposition to some candidates and demands for ministerial quotas.

The newspapers stressed that the gap between the different stances expressed by the parties to the negotiations is widening with time.

Lebanon will rise up from its ashes - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Lebanon will rise up from its ashes – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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