‘Never in a hundred years’ would the Shiite duo relinquish the finance portfolio, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Tuesday.
“Not in a hundred years will they take the finance ministry from us. Just as we won’t accept them to annul us and let them name our ministers,” sources of AMAL and Hezbollah told the daily on condition of anonymity.
PM-designate Mustafa Adib’s efforts to form a government have been effectively blocked by the two main Shiite groups in Lebanon’s usual power-sharing arrangement.
Observers have said their insistence to keep the finance ministry under their control is linked to recent US sanctions against a former minister from AMAL, as well as Hezbollah-linked businesses.
Adib is under pressure to form a fresh cabinet as soon as possible, so it can launch reforms required to unlock billions of dollars in foreign aid.
PSP leader Walid Jumblatt who is a friend of Speaker Nabih Berri was quoted as saying the Amal leader is under pressure to maintain his position about the ministry of finance .
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea stressed Monday that the Shiites in Lebanon are a historic and essential component of the country and no one can or wants to eliminate them and no one is thinking of this and ” we will not tolerate anything of this sort.”
He was referring to the cabinet formation and the insistence by the Shiite duo of Amal and Hezbollah to name their own. ministers and continue to hold onto the Finance ministry
No one wants to target Shiites in Lebanon,” in connection with the ongoing row over representation in the new government.” Geagea said.
“Some are trying to depict what’s happening in the issue of the formation of the government as being targeted against Shiites, and some have gone to the extent of saying that they will not accept the elimination of an entire sect,” Geagea said in a statement.
He added: “These atmospheres are totally distant from reality, seeing as no one wants to target Shiites in Lebanon. No one is thinking of this and we will not tolerate anything of this sort.”
Warning that Hezbollah and Amal Movement’s insistence on retaining the finance portfolio will push other parties to cling to the portfolios they currently hold, Geagea pointed out that such a scenario would produce a government similar to the previous failed ones.
“Accordingly, we support the full rotation of portfolios among sects and parties, and we totally reject that the ruling blocs name ministers in the government,” the LF leader added.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun finally admitted on Monday that the country was going “to hell” if his allies the so called Shiite duo continue to sabotage the government formation by insisting on naming the Shiite ministers to the cabinet including the finance minister.