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New Cabinet aims to exclude Hezbollah: Berri
File photo of Speaker Nabih Berri at Parliament in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
File photo of Speaker Nabih Berri at Parliament in Beirut. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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BEIRUT: A new neutral government that would be announced next week and that aims to exclude Hezbollah would face a no-confidence vote, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said.

“If this government is formed, as they say, from neutral and non-partisan [figures], the aim and the outcome of this action will be to exclude Hezbollah from the government and nothing else,” Berri said in remarks published Thursday.

But Berri warned that such a Cabinet would soon be toppled.

“A decree on the formation of this government will be issued on Jan. 7 or 8 as they say,” pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat quoted Berri as telling visitors.

“Then [the government] will take time to draft the ministerial statement, after which it will be passed to Parliament to discuss and approve it,” he added.

“[Such a] government will fail and will not get a vote of confidence in Parliament,” Berri warned.

He said lawmakers from his Liberation and Development parliamentary bloc as well as from MP Walid Jumblatt’s bloc will not give a confidence vote to the new government.

President Michel Sleiman has agreed with Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam to seek the formation of a 14-member neutral Cabinet before Jan. 25, political sources told The Daily Star Monday.

The move is likely to throw the country into further turmoil given that the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition strongly opposes such a government, proposing instead a 9-9-6 Cabinet formula representing the political parties in the country.

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