BEIRUT: Hezbollah Thursday urged Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to ensure the participation of its ally the Free Patriotic Movement in the next government, warning that lack of flexibility on his part risked the formation of a Cabinet that breached the National Pact.
“The current opportunity should not be lost by having [someone] attempt to play smart and give [others] justification to challenge the [next] government’s adherence to the National Pact, its constitutionality or weaken its representation of national partnership,” said a statement from the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc.
“The formation of a political all-embracing government requires officials to be extra keen and more dynamic in order to overcome obstacles preventing the participation of all political parties based on their weight,” MP Hasan Fadlallah, who read the statement, said.
Hezbollah, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Salam agreed last month to form an all-embracing government based on a 8-8-8 lineup as proposed by Speaker Nabih Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt.
The deal also stipulated a rotation of ministerial portfolios based on party and sect. The rotation was one of Hariri’s main conditions to joining a Cabinet with Hezbollah.
Aoun argues that the principle of rotation is unconstitutional and only aims at stripping his party of the Energy Ministry, currently held by his son-in-law Gebran Bassil.
Hezbollah is trying to convince Aoun to accept the rotation policy in order to avoid a resignation by his ministers from the future Cabinet.
Some March 8 parties are also trying to convince Marada Movement leader Suleiman Franjieh to keep his minister in the new Cabinet even if Aoun’s ministers resign in protest.
In the statement, the Hezbollah lawmakers said ongoing efforts and contacts should aim at boosting the needed cooperation between political components and “avoid further complications as we approach the presidential election which the bloc is keen on holding on time.”
The bloc also confirmed its commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding signed between Aoun and Hezbollah in 2006, implicitly warning that a withdrawal of FPM ministers from the government could force the party to do the same.
“The historical understanding signed in February of 2006 between Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement has successfully passed a number of tests in critical and difficult times due to the honesty that the two parties committed to at the leadership and organizational levels and mutual trust,” it said.
The bloc also proposed that the government in cooperation with Lebanese parties draft a preemptive security plan to combat rising terrorism in the country, following a series of car bombings targeting pro-Hezbollah areas.
"Given the rise of takfiri terrorism, the bloc stresses the need to carry out a nation, deterrent and pre-emptive plan by the state and its agencies with the help of Lebanese components to maintain security and stability and guarantee protection of civilians," it said.
"The interest of Lebanese regardless of their affiliations requires that [we] contain this terrorism," the bloc added.