Christian Representation Hinders Cabinet Formation Process Amid Conflicting Demands


Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati on Saturday continued to face obstacles to his cabinet formation process over the Christian representation, a scenario that Lebanese governments have witnessed since 2005.

Pan-Arab daily al-Hayat quoted sources following up contacts to form the government as saying that Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun is rejecting to give shares to President Michel Suleiman and wants a homogenous 30-member cabinet that only includes the March 8 forces.

Aoun also reportedly wants his Change and Reform bloc to get the interior, telecom, justice and energy portfolios and is demanding the right to give his opinion on the choice of Christian ministers from outside his bloc.

Aoun’s demands are one of the major problems that Miqati is trying to solve, the sources said.

Another problem is Miqati’s choice for deputy premier after Issam Fares rejected the post. The sources said the PM-designate wants to give the seat to a neutral politician and not a member from the March 8 forces.

Marada movement leader Suleiman Franjieh is also insisting on naming his ally former lawmaker Fayez Ghosn as deputy PM and is seeking to get a sovereign portfolio, al-Hayat’s sources said.

Miqati is seeking to limit the demands of the FPM and appease Aoun’s stance by holding talks with several of his allies, mainly Speaker Nabih Berri who insists on facilitating the PM-designate’s mission, they said.

Berri is also seeking to give the energy portfolio to a member of his AMAL movement, the sources added.