Lebanon cabinet : Almost there


Amal Movement MP Ali Khreiss said on Thursday that a deal was made over the distribution of shares between the March 8 parties in the upcoming cabinet but the only remaining sticking issue is the Interior Ministry portfolio

“The number of seats in the upcoming cabinet and the distribution of portfolios have been resolved, except for the Interior Ministry issue,” Khreiss told Voice of Lebanon .

“There is no justification for the delay in the formation of the cabinet… the delay does not benefit anyone” he added.

Amal is headed by Lebanon Speaker Nabih Berri. There were reports on Thursday that Berri prefers to keep the Caretaker cabinet which is headed by outgoing PM Saad Hariri until the situation in Syria becomes more clear.

Al-Hayat newspaper also quoted some March 8 sources as saying in remarks published on Thursday that consultations between PM-designate Najib Mikati and Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun through the mediation of Hezbollah led to a ” partial agreement l.”

Aoun, who has been bickering with President Michel Suleiman over the interior ministry, has agreed to share 10 ministerial portfolios with his allies the Marada movement and the Tashnag party . One state ministerial portfolio is included in the share .

An agreement has reportedly also been reached over who shouldn’t get the interior :

“Neither Caretaker Interior Minister Ziad Baroud , nor FPM”.

Baroud was hailed after the 2009 elections as one of the best ministers of Interior Lebanon has ever had . Even Aoun praised him.

Mikati was appointed in January as the PM designate with the backing of the Hezbollah March 8 alliance and MPs Walid Jumblatt and Mohammad Safadi . March 14 leaders have repeatedly said that intimidation from Hezbollah’s weapons helped secure the parliamentary majority for Mikati’s nomination.

Aoun’s demand that he should receive a blocking third of cabinet seats, including the Interior Ministry , currently part of President Michel Suleiman’s cabinet share has reportedly been the main reason behind the delay in cabinet formation.