It does not appear that Lebanon will have a cabinet anytime soon according to local observers . Disputes over various issues continue . Suspicion over the neutrality of the president and the PM designate are on the increase and outside elements are being blamed for the delay .
Minister of Education Hassan Mneimneh, a key member of March 14 alliance told Free Lebanon radio on Wednesday that “there are visible domestic and foreign factors behind the delay in cabinet formation. ”
He added the issue of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL)] and other factors are contributing to the delay
He also said that “a ‘de facto’ cabinet won’t make it ,” in a possible response to press reports that Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati may attempt to form a cabinet before a consensus is reached among the political parties.
“In the end, mutual understanding must be reached among the new majority’s forces in order to form this cabinet.”
FPM MP Ziad Aswad said on Wednesday that Mikati and President Michel Suleiman are waiting for a “green light” from a certain power to form a cabinet.
He did not reveal the name of the ” certain power”
“The complication related to the Interior Ministry portfolio was invented to cover-up for the failures of Suleiman and Mikati,” he told OTV.
“The president gave many promises on the issue of the Interior Ministry portfolio and I do not know what the promises will lead to.” He added
Aswad questioned the president’s neutrality, saying it is a huge mistake to believe that anyone in Lebanon is a centrist.
The MP added that he does not expect a cabinet to be formed anytime soon.
Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun met on Wednesday with Speaker Nabih Berri at the parliament to discuss cabinet formation , National News Agency reported.
“We discussed the current situation in Lebanon as well as news related to the cabinet formation process ,” Aoun was quoted as saying .
Aoun added that Berri did not says he is “desperate and in bad shape,” saying that the speaker said “the country’s situation is in bad condition.”
NNA quoted Berri as saying Tuesday that he is “desperate, miserable and in a bad shape,” over the cabinet-formation process.
Mikati sources told OTV station : A new round of contacts has been launched in a bid to find a solution to the cabinet formation impasse.
Responding to Wikileaks cable published by Al-Joumhouria yesterday Mikati’s press office responded by stating : “Some of the remarks and stances cited in these documents are untrue, some are inaccurate and most of which go back years and are part of a political analysis of the general situations in Lebanon.”
There is a lot of talk about Mikati stepping down but Minister of State Adnan as-Sayyed Hussein told LBC television on Wednesday that Mikati will not step down and may form a “de facto cabinet.”
Hussein who represents the president in the outgoing cabinet but who sided with Hezbollah in bringing down the government of PM Saad Hariri said there are foreign and domestic reasons behind the cabinet–formation delay, but added that foreign factors are the main cause behind the government vacuum.
“Mikati is against being submissive to foreign parties . That is why he is facing difficulties.” he said
Future Movement parliamentary bloc commented on the delay of government formation by saying:”The March 8 forces’ failure in forming a new cabinet has led to a security chaos and the violation of public and private property.” In reference to the recent security issues and illegal construction activities in south Lebanon.
Central News Agency reported on Wednesday that the president, prime minister-designate, and Hezbollah have recently conducted intense efforts to overcome the obstacles in the government formation process.
CNA said the efforts to settle the dispute over Interior Ministry portfolio include having other sects, besides the main four, acquire sovereign ministries. The main 4 are : Muslim Sunnis and Shiites, Christian Maronites and Roman orthodox
Voice of Lebanon ( VOL) reported that President Suleiman and Mikati met at the Baabda palace on Wednesday afternoon
VOL said the meeting focused on the government formation and said that a final structure for the Cabinet is expected soon.