BEIRUT: Hezbollah MP Ali Fayyad criticized the PM-designate Sunday for failing to abide by the demands of the parliamentary majority in his efforts to form a new Cabinet, while another party official urged the caretaker government to approve oil-related decrees.
"The prime minister-designate’s insistence on the 8-8-8 formula for the Cabinet is now in violation of the parliamentary majority, particularly in light of MP Walid Jumblatt's opposition to it,” Fayyad said during a ceremony in south Lebanon.
“This contradicts the philosophy of forming a Cabinet by the majority which means a violation to the main critical standards in Cabinet formation: agreement and majority,” he added.
Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam, who was nominated in April, has proposed a 24-member Cabinet lineup, with eight seats apiece for March 8, March 14 and centrists.
The centrists refer to President Michel Sleiman, Salam and Jumblatt.
Jumblatt has opposed such a lineup, saying Lebanon was in need for an all-encompassing government.
Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah also opposed the formula and has argued that the March 14 coalition would actually have 10 ministers because Salam should be seen as a member of the March 14 camp, according to such a proposal.
Salam has been struggling for over six months to form a new Cabinet as he wrestles with conditions and counter-conditions set down by rival groups.
Fayyad also reiterated his party’s accusation that the March 14 was obstructing the formation of a new government.
“The public should know ... that March 14 with its regional alliance should be held responsible for the absence of a government and dialogue and consequently shunning all kinds of resolutions,” he said.
Sheik Nabil Qaouk, Hezbollah's commander in south Lebanon, also slammed his rivals in the March 14 group, saying their decisions lie in the hands of what he described as “sponsor countries who are still betting on the fall of the state in Syria.”
"I ask the March 14 to facilitate the formation of a new Cabinet for all the Lebanese because it has become a national demand,” he said during his speech at a graduation ceremony in Aiteet.
He reiterated the party’s call for a government that represents each bloc based on its parliamentary weight.
Meanwhile, caretaker State Minister Mohammad Fneish, also a Hezbollah official, said Sunday the resistance group represents a deterrence factor preventing Israel from infringing on Lebanon’s maritime borders.
“As always, the Zionist enemy seeks to violate our maritime rights given that it did not even hesitate to begin exploration four kilometers away from our maritime borders,” he said.
“This enemy will not be deterred unless we commit to the formula of the ‘Army, the people and the resistance' which has achieved what no other Arab country has as it has foiled the 2006 aggression,” he added.
“[The formula] is the only element that can certainly deter the enemy from thinking of violating our rights.”
Hezbollah has urged the caretaker Cabinet under outgoing Prime Minister Najib Mikati to convene and issue pending oil decrees demarcating 10 maritime oil exploration blocks and establishing a revenue-sharing model. The decrees which require government approval are needed before oil and gas contracts can be awarded.
“Will the caretaker government abandon its role in preserving the nation's wealth under the pretext that it is unconstitutional?” Fneish asked.
“Decrees allowing exploration have already been approved and the pending ones are a continuation of the process and in line with the law which is already in effect,” he added.