Mikati putting final touches on cabinet that excludes March 14


Lebanon Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati is reportedly putting the final touches on the cabinet which is expected to exclude the March 14 alliance according to local reports

The cabinet will reportedly include representatives of the Hezbollah-led alliance , centrists and technocrats and the size is expected to be between 24 to 30 ministers.

The “centrists” are expected be appointed by Mikati and President Michel Suleiman, subject to the approval of Hezbollah.

Speaker Nabih Berri , a key ally of Hezbollah told Voice of Lebanon that Mikati’s cabinet will see light this week and hinted that March 14 will not be participating

“The cabinet will witness the bright and blessed life this week,” he said and added

“Unfortunately, it seems that some parties don’t want to participate in the national salvation cabinet. This has been announced by Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel.”

Berri’s comment comes after former Lebanese president and current Phalange party leader Amin Gemayel criticized the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance during a press conference on Monday accusing them of changing their own rules.

Gemayel was delegated by March 14 alliance the role of negotiating with Mikati its conditions for participation in the cabinet.’

“We do not understand … consensus was not accepted, and they did not accept that the democratic game be governed according to the exact course that they specified during the terms of the past two governments.

The Iranian- and Syria-backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s ( STL) indictment which is widely expected to implicate Hezbollah members in the assassination of former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005 .

Mikati, who was backed by Hezbollah and its March 8 allies including MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi, was appointed by president Michel Suleiman as PM-designate to form and head the next cabinet , giving Hezbollah and its allies increased leverage in the country and provoking widespread protests.