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Hezbollah’s Fneish warns against fait accompli Cabinet
Caretaker Minister of State Mohammad Fneish leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
Caretaker Minister of State Mohammad Fneish leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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BEIRUT: Caretaker State Minister Mohammad Fneish warned Sunday that any attempt to form a fait accompli Cabinet would have negative consequences in the country and reiterated his party’s demands for a national unity government based on the 9-9-6 line-up.

“Talk of the formation of a fait accompli government is harmful and would face many obstacles,” Fneish said, advising those entertaining the thought “not to make such a mistake, which would be a big mistake because they would be held responsible for the repercussions.”

“We did not ask for our true representation and have agreed to the bare minimum [in Cabinet] but any talk, justification, or pretext to impose a fait accompli Cabinet is out of the question,” Fneish said, speaking during a commemoration ceremony in the southern city of Sidon.

“[This also applies to any] talk that the present government cannot exercise presidential duties in the event the presidential election [in May 2014] does not take place,” he added.

Fneish’s comments come after recent comments by Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam who said a fait accompli Cabinet was constitutional and would become a caretaker government if it failed to garner a majority of Parliament’s vote of confidence.

On Thursday, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem also warned against a new Cabinet that lacked Parliament’s confidence taking over presidential duties if a new president was not elected on time to succeed President Michel Sleiman when his six-year-term in office expires on May 25, 2014.

Fneish said the focus for the upcoming stage should be toward the election of a new president, warning that a fait accompli Cabinet would delay the crucial constitutional deadline.

“The major concern should be holding the presidential election on time and all efforts should focus on that,” he said.

“If the [presidential] election is delayed for any reason, it will be the result of the other party’s [March 14] stance and the formation of a Cabinet that does not join all the Lebanese,” he said.

Hezbollah has been demanding the formation of a 9-9-6 Cabinet lineup in which both the March 8 and March 14 camps would enjoy veto power.

Fneish ruled out the formation of any Cabinet that was not one of national partnership and stressed that the 9-9-6 formula was the “bare minimum.”

“We repeat our call for making use of the remaining time to form a national partnership Cabinet based on the 9-9-6 formula with participation from the fundamental political factions,” he said.

This 9-9-6 Cabinet formula has been rejected by the Future Movement which has called instead for a neutral, nonpartisan government.

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