Harb: Consultations aim at confronting Lebanon president, PM


Lebanon Caretaker Labor Minister Boutros Harb said on Thursday that the “current

consultations are are aimed at confronting the positions of the presidency and the premiership”

Harb warned that such confrontation could lead to the collapse of the current political system, since the presidency and premiership maintain balance in the political system.

Harb was referring to the infighting within the Hezbollah-led March 8 alliance and its determination not to let the president and PM pick any ministerial portfolios

“Certain stances have considered that the jurisdiction to form a cabinet is not that of President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, rather that of political parties. This violates the constitution, and threatens the presidency as it [would lead to depriving] the president of all his jurisdictions; thus, leading to the collapse of the current political system.” Harb said

Harb stressed that “Suleiman is exercising his jurisdictions”

Harb also said that the March 14 coalition has been holding meetings, and its final stance on the cabinet formation will be revealed soon .

According to analysts General Michel Aoun continues to be the biggest obstacle facing Mikati since he is insisting on getting the ministry of Interior in addition to demanding a disproportionate number of portfolios in the new cabinet….wants 13 portfolios out of 30

Commenting on his dispute with President Michel Suleiman over the ministry of interior

Aoun said yesterday during an interview with OTV that he won’t let the president have any portfolio.

” The issue of the president’s share (in cabinet) is a farce that is not subject to any constitutional provisions or the criteria of popular support, and personally I won’t give Suleiman any portfolio as he hasn’t been a consensual president.”

The Iranian- and Syrian-backed Hezbollah brought down PM Saad Hariri’s government on January 12 over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon’s imminent 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 MP Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi, was appointed on January 25 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 protest.

On Monday U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton accused Hezbollah of hijacking Lebanon’s democracy.

The Lebanese “deserve to have their democracy respected and their voices heard, and not have one element of their society using the threat of force and the potential of violence to try to achieve political ends,” she said.

This was a possible reference to the alleged Hezbollah threats against MP Walid Jumblatt and his PSP parliament members that forced them to switch allegiance to Hezbollah’s PM candidate .