Hezbollah throws a monkey wrench into cabinet formation


raad defHezbollah’s parliament bloc leader Mohammad Raad threw another monkey wrench into cabinet formation process when he demanded on Monday that the his party insists on its right to representation inside the upcoming cabinet based on its size inside the parliament.

“What we are calling for is our right. We want to be represented inside the cabinet proportionally to our size inside the parliament,” Raad said during an Iftar dinner on Sunday.

“Hezbollah is not imposing conditions to form a cabinet… but at the same time it clings to its right, which is guaranteed by the Lebanese constitution,” he said.

Raad accused the March 14 coalition of imposing impossible conditions on the cabinet formation.

“Those who are imposing conditions are the parties that do not accept our participation inside the cabinet or are setting limits for the size of our participation,” he said.

Raad’s comment will make it impossible for PM Designate Tammam Salam to form a cabinet, since Hezbollah ally MP Michel Aoun is also insiting on proportional representation in the cabinet .

Salam is sticking to his proposal that calls for a 24-member cabinet, in which the March 8 , March 14 and the centrists would get 8 ministers each. But the centrists have few parliament members and if the proportional representation rule is applied they will not be able to get more than a couple of seats in the cabinet . The centrist bloc is composed of president Michel Suleiman, who is not represented by any MPs , Tammam Salam who was elected by March 14 voters in 2009 and does not have any parliament bloc and PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt who defected from March 14 following the the 2009 elections and has a parliament bloc of about 7 MPs out of 128.

While some March 14 leaders are calling for a cabinet without Hezbollah ( because its role in the Syrian civil war contradicts Lebanon disassociation policy ) Jumblatt is insisting on including the militant group in the cabinet