BEIRUT: Speaker Nabih Berri said Thursday the presidential election and the issue of Cabinet formation should remain separated, reiterating his support for the 9-9-6 government lineup.
"We are ahead of two primary constitutional dates: forming a new government and electing a new president and we do not want one to have a negative effect on the other,” Berri told a delegation of journalists.
“The aim of the 9-9-6 Cabinet lineup is partnership and understanding,” he said.
While he said the Lebanese people and leadership would not allow for the return to the Civil War, Berri warned against the vertical political split in the country.
He also stressed on the importance of working together to form a new government and said he would not talk about the presidential election until the end of President Michel Sleiman’s term on May 25.
PM-designate Tammam Salam has been struggling for the past eight months to form a new Cabinet in light of conditions and counter conditions by rival groups.
While Hezbollah and its allies in the March 8 group, including Berri, demand a political government where major parties are represented, their rivals in the March 14 coalition seek a neutral Cabinet of nonpartisan ministers.
Berri has warned against a fait accompli Cabinet, saying such a step would be dangerous to the country.