Aoun slams attempts to exclude FPM from cabinet


aoun angry againFPM leader MP Michel Aoun criticized the attempts of PM designate Tammam Salam to exclude his bloc from the cabinet he is trying to form to replace the caretaker cabinet of PM Nagib Mikati.

In an interview on Tuesday with his own TV station OTV he said :” There is an attempt to form a cabinet without taking the views of others into consideration, which makes it a de facto cabinet.”

Aoun revealed that there has been no contact with President Michel Suleiman over the cabinet formation process.

Aoun denied he has any conflict with any party :

“I’m not in a conflict with anyone and there are there are two parties that have a conflict ; Future Movement and Hezbollah and it is primarily over the Syrian situation.

Aoun stressed that “a national unity cabinet is usually formed when there is a national crisis. ”

He added: “I will not accept to be outside power while I’m in Lebanon and if you want to eliminate me, you have to tell me why”.

PM-designate Salam has been trying to form a cabinet based on giving an equal share to the rival political blocks – March 14 , March 8 and the centrists, but the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance is insisting on having a bigger share in the cabinet to allow it to veto its decisions . Salam has been opposed to giving any party a veto power ( usually referred to as a blocking third ) . He has recently been floating the idea of forming a neutral cabinet of technocrats, but Hezbollah and Aoun have been opposed to this idea too and this is why Lebanon is still without a government and Najib Miqati is still acting as the caretaker Prime Minister.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea criticized Aoun’s earlier remarks on the same issue accusing him of intimidating the Prime Minister-designate according to a report by As Safir newspaper that was published on Tuesday.

Geagea added: “Aoun is practicing political terrorism against Salam.”

“Forming a neutral and technocratic government is the only realistic and safe measure during this phase in Lebanon,” he said.

“Those making judgments of its failure before it is even born demonstrate that they will thwart the formation of a cabinet that they cannot control,” he stressed.

“Salam cannot be terrorized or intimidated and he will not resign his post,” Geagea added.

In a related development Hezbollah sources warned of grave repercussions over the possible formation in Lebanon of of a fait accompli neutral cabinet.

“A fait accompli neutral government could blow up the country,” Hezbollah sources told Al-Akhbar newspaper, which is closely linked to the militant group , in remarks published on Tuesday.

The Jumblatt factor

Up till now Hezbollah has been counting on PSP leader Walid Jumblatt’s support. But in what was described as a dramatic reversal of his previous position in support of a national-unity cabinet in which all parties including Hezbollah are represented , Jumblatt said last Wednesday that he does not oppose the formation of a neutral cabinet that does not include any of the major political parties.

“I support the suggestion to form a cabinet that does not include parties like Hezbollah, the Future Movement, the PSP and others,” Jumblatt told the Egyptian As-Sharq al-Awsat news agency.

Jumblatt who has been critical of Hezbollah’s support to the Syrian regime urged the party last week to withdraw from Syria ,” because the countdown for the fall of the Assad regime has started .”

Similarly President Suleiman President, who like Jumblatt and Salam is a centrist urged Hezbollah on the Army Day to quit the Syrian civil war. He has also confirmed that he will sign off on a cabinet formula submitted by Salam if it proves to serve the nation’s interest.