Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai on Sunday slammed the political parties that are insisting on specific number of shares in the new government and attempts to “exclude” certain parties.
“Clinging to shares or limiting them to certain blocs while excluding other parties and competent individuals from the non-partisan civil society do not justify delaying the government at the expense of public welfare,” al-Rai warned in his Saint Charbel Day sermon.
“Everyone inside and outside the country are awaiting the formation of the government, because every day of delay carries major repercussions and grave losses to the economy and all its sectors,” the patriarch cautioned.
Geagea -Rai meeting
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea held a closed-door meeting with al-Rahi on the sidelines of a mass marking St. Charbel Day in the town of Bqaa Kafra, the LF said.
The talks “tackled the Cabinet formation issue,” the LF said in a statement.
During the mass, al-Rahi called for “forming the new government ,” warning that “any delay in its formation has its political, economic, social and security repercussions.”
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri was tasked with forming the new government on May 24.
Several obstacles are hindering his mission, especially political wrangling over the Christian and Druze shares.
FPM / Aoun obstacle
Any progress in the Cabinet formation process is hinging on the outcome of the expected meeting between Hariri and Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Gebran Bassil, informed sources told al-Hayat daily.
Noting that an “agreement” has been reached between Hariri and each of Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea and Progressive Socialist Party chief Walid Jumblat on the Christian and Druze representation in the government, sources following up on Hariri’s efforts said “the problem is now revolving around what Bassil wants and what Hariri might suggest.”
The sources confirmed to al-Hayat that “Bassil wants 10 or 11 ministers for the FPM and the president, with seven or six going to the FPM and four to the president.”
“He wants most of the key portfolios for those named by his camp,” the sources added.
In remarks to Kuwait’s al-Jarida newspaper, political sources meanwhile ruled out a Hariri-Bassil meeting in the next two days.
“Communication between the two men was completely severed a few days ago, which indicates the presence of conflicting viewpoints between Hariri and the President over the powers of each of them regarding the formation process,” the sources said.
The sources added that in addition to the Christian and Druze obstacles, a new obstacle related to Marada Movement’s representation has emerged.
“Caretaker Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos has told Hariri during a meeting that Marada chief Suleiman Franjieh rejects settling for only one portfolio for his movement and that he is insisting on another portfolio that could go to a Sunni or Christian figure,” the sources said.
The candidates for this second portfolio are MP Jihad al-Samad and MP Farid al-Khazen, the sources added.