BEIRUT: Hezbollah welcomed an initiative Tuesday put forward by Speaker Nabih Berri to put an end to the political deadlock in the country, while a Future Movement lawmaker claimed parts of the plan were unconstitutional.
“The Loyalty to the Resistance bloc welcomed the initiative and saw in it a realistic proposal that gives political rivals a chance to discuss items included calmly and responsibly,” said a statement from Hezbollah after lawmakers from the party met with a delegation of Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc.
The statement added that the calm and responsible discussion of items proposed in Berri’s initiative “could lead to solutions that satisfy all parties and end the political stalemate that is obstructing the country and exhausting citizens and allowing foreign interventions into the country which only results in further complications of the crisis.”
Earlier in the day, Future Movement MP Atef Majdalani told The Daily Star his group was ready for dialogue but considers priority should be given to speed up the Cabinet formation process.
“The economic and social situation in the country cannot bear anymore procrastination in the Cabinet formation process,” he said.
Majdalani’s remarks come a day after members of his party held talks with a delegation from the Development and Liberation parliamentary bloc over Berri’s recent initiative aimed at ending the political stalemate in the country.
While describing Berri’s initiative as important, Majdalani said some of the items in the plan, such as the Cabinet formation, did not belong at the National Dialogue table as these would override the prerogatives of the president and the PM-designate.
“The Constitution is clear over whose task it is to form the Cabinet and thus this issue should not be discussed during the all-party talks,” he said.
“Dialogue should address other issues, mainly Hezbollah’s involvement in Syrian battles as well as its arsenal.”
According to the Beirut MP, communication with Berri’s bloc will be maintained and a meeting between Future parliamentary bloc leader MP Fouad Siniora and the speaker is expected soon.
Siniora voiced skepticism Sunday about Berri’s initiative, telling The Daily Star that it would not achieve a breakthrough in the political deadlock.
The delegation from Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc continued Tuesday meetings with officials, including with Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt.
Jumblatt described the meeting as “positive” and said he agreed with Berri on “the principle of dialogue.”
“We agree with Speaker Nabih Berri on the principle of dialogue and we insist [on holding dialogue],” he told the Voice of Lebanon radio station.
“Whatever the circumstances may be, dialogue is far much better than a boycott,” Jumblatt said.
The March 8 delegation met separately Monday with Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Siniora.
It is set to meet Tuesday with the leaders of the Lebanese Forces and Kataeb Party.
For his part, President Michel Sleiman reiterated his call for the formation of a new Cabinet, saying that the formation of the new government would not make any change at the regional level.
“It is urgent and necessary to form a new Cabinet that looks out for the daily lives and the social affairs of citizens, particularly that winter is upon us and the academic year is about to begin,” Sleiman told visitors in Baabda Palace, according to a statement from the president’s office.
“Forming a new Cabinet will not change anything in the current formulas and situations around us,” he added.
Sleiman also said political rivals should ease their conditions regarding the Cabinet formation in order to reach an all-inclusive Cabinet wherein all parties can take part and “shoulder their national responsibility to help reach stability at the political and security [levels]” in the country.
The president also said political rivals should face upcoming challenges “with national solidarity that will constitute the salvation the Lebanese are aspiring for.”