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Future MPs: Hezbollah reneging on Cabinet deal

Future bloc MPs Ahmad Fatfat, left, and Mohammad Hajjar leave the Parliament in Beirut, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Future Movement lawmakers Monday accused Hezbollah of reneging on a deal that would see the formation of an all-embracing government by resorting to excuses and enlisting its allies in the March 8 alliance to sabotage the birth of a new Cabinet.

“When a solution on the Energy Ministry began to emerge they came up with the issue of the security portfolios and when names were proposed they started using vetoes,” Future Movement Ahmad Fatfat told a local television station.

“What right do [MP Michel] Aoun and Hezbollah think they have to objecting to names put forward by the Future Movement?” Fatfat asked, noting that “Gen. Aoun and Hezbollah had said they would be naming their [sides].”

Political sources last week told The Daily Star that the Cabinet formation process, which has been ongoing for 11 months, was still at an impasse over objections by Hezbollah over the allotting of two security ministries to the March 14 coalition.

In January, the leader of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, paved the way for the formation of an all-embracing government after saying he would be willing to share power with Hezbollah in the next Cabinet.

“The political agreement [between Hezbollah and the Future Movement] stipulates the formation of an 8-8-8 Cabinet with ministry portfolios distributed evenly between the sects and the comprehensive and continuous rotation of ministerial portfolios,” Fatfat said.

“These are the three main points of the agreement and we are sticking to them,” Fatfat added.

One of the hurdles to the formation is Aoun’s opposition to the principle of rotating ministerial portfolios which would see his son-in-law, Gebran Bassil, lose the Energy Ministry portfolio.

Hezbollah, Aoun’s ally in the March 8 coalition, has urged Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to show more flexibility on the issue and warned that a Cabinet without representation by the Free Patriotic Movement is doomed to fail.

Future Movement MP Mohammad Hajjar alleged Hezbollah was obstructing the formation, reflecting what he said was a pattern of reneging on agreement by the Lebanese group.

“We are ready to offer all the possible concessions to reach a solution but the truth is that we are [going round in circles] because of Hezbollah’s [usual] backtracking on previous agreements and commitments,” Hajjar told Voice of Lebanon radio.

“Today we are seeing a failure in commitments over the Cabinet formation .... the excuses are always ready as well as the means but what is sure is that there is always sectarian incitement that covers and envelops a lack of willingness by Iran at present to calm the Lebanese arena because of priorities for Iran’s project in the region,” he said.

“Will President [Michel] Sleiman and Salam exercise their constitutional prerogatives and sign the decrees for the formation of the Cabinet?” Hajjar asked.

“This is what we and all the Lebanese hope will happen,” he added.

 

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Summary

Future Movement lawmakers Monday accused Hezbollah of reneging on a deal that would see the formation of an all-embracing government by resorting to excuses and enlisting its allies in the March 8 alliance to sabotage the birth of a new Cabinet.

Political sources last week told The Daily Star that the Cabinet formation process, which has been ongoing for 11 months, was still at an impasse over objections by Hezbollah over the allotting of two security ministries to the March 14 coalition.

In January, the leader of the Future Movement, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, paved the way for the formation of an all-embracing government after saying he would be willing to share power with Hezbollah in the next Cabinet.

Future Movement MP Mohammad Hajjar alleged Hezbollah was obstructing the formation, reflecting what he said was a pattern of reneging on agreement by the Lebanese group.


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