BEIRUT: Efforts to form Lebanon’s new government marked time Tuesday, as each rival political party stood firmly with their stance regarding the makeup of the new government.
The Future Movement of ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri reiterated its call “for Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam and President Michel Sleiman to swiftly form the government to restore confidence in its institutions,” it said after its regular meeting at Hariri’s Downtown residence.
The party said a government was needed as soon as possible to manage the affairs of the people and address the economic situation, which it said could no longer endure its current state of paralysis.
Similarly, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, an ally of the Future Movement, stressed the need to form a government as quickly as possible.
“There is unanimous agreement over the great need to form a government in Lebanon, as the country cannot survive without one,” Geagea said after receiving a delegation of mukhtars from northern Metn at his Maarab residence.
“Even local authorities cannot survive without an effective government,” Geagea added.
He repeated his call for Sleiman and Salam to form a government as soon as possible. “From now on, further waiting will lead to no outcome,” the LF leader said.
Later, Geagea received a delegation from the Tashnag Party. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Metn MP Hagop Pakradounian, from the party, said discussions did not address the government formation.
“There are no positive developments regarding efforts to form the government,” Pakradounian said.
The Metn MP added that he supported calls by Sleiman and Speaker Nabih Berri for Dialogue.
“The most important thing is to form a government, but not any government. We should form a government that reflects reality, in which the largest number of Lebanese political parties is represented, one that is able to rule,” Pakradounian said. “We have major events awaiting us. These include presidential elections [in May 2014] and parliamentary elections [in November 2014],” Pakradounian added.
Salam’s efforts to put together his government have been futile so far due to conditions and counter conditions by the March 8 and March 14 coalitions.
The March 8 alliance insists that the new government should be a national unity one in which parties are represented based on their size in the Parliament. However, March 14 rivals argue that the country is in need of a neutral Cabinet.
Metn MP Ibrahim Kanaan, from Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, said that the Lebanese have to take the initiative and form the government rather than wait for regional developments to affect the process.
“The government issue is in need of a Lebanese initiative, rather than waiting for [green] lights from here and there,” Kanaan said after attending the weekly meeting of his bloc, chaired by Aoun at his Rabieh residence.
“It has become clear that difficult conditions [placed by some parties on the Cabinet formation process] were eliminated by some regional developments,” Kanaan added.
“Let us take the initiative, and care about our country. Let us decide what the priorities are and implement them,” he said.
A potential diplomatic thaw in ties between the United States and Iran after a historic phone conversation between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last week is believed to have reflected positively on the political crisis in Lebanon.
Also, some observers believe that reports of improving Saudi-Iranian ties could help in resolving Lebanon’s political deadlock.
Iran is the main backer of Hezbollah while Saudi Arabia supports the Future Movement.