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Sleiman sets timeframe for Cabinet lineup: MP

Future Movement MP Hadi Hobeish. (Archive Photo/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman warned he would approve the formation of a neutral government if rival parties fail to agree on an all-embracing Cabinet within the next 10 days, MP Hadi Hobeish said Thursday.

Sleiman “has given a 10-day ultimatum to form an all-inclusive government,” said Hobeish, an MP in former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future parliamentary bloc.

Hobeish said Sleiman had warned he would support a non-partisan government if there were no signs of progress on ending the Cabinet crisis.

He added that the president had announced his stance during a recent meeting with representatives of Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

The warring political camps – March 8 and March 14 coalitions– have been at odds over the type of government that would take over the resigned Cabinet of caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

The Future Movement Wednesday sought answers into a recent proposal for a Cabinet 8-8-8 lineup.

Future MP Nuhad Mashnouq Wednesday said his bloc could not adopt a final stance on the 8-8-8 Cabinet proposal before it received clear answers to five questions.

He said that the Future bloc sent questions to those involved in the Cabinet formation process including Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam concerning: the shape of the government; a blocking third, or veto power; the Cabinet’s policy statement; rotation of all ministerial portfolios; and the right of the president and the prime minister-designate for “fair veto” to reject any name proposed.

Mashnouq left for Paris Thursday.

Meanwhile, caretaker Information Minister Walid Daouq said that Mikati was upbeat about the formation of a new Cabinet.

“There is a positive atmosphere on the formation of the new Cabinet,” Daouq quoted Mikati as saying after meeting with the caretaker PM at the Grand Serail.

 

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Summary

President Michel Sleiman warned he would approve the formation of a neutral government if rival parties fail to agree on an all-embracing Cabinet within the next 10 days, MP Hadi Hobeish said Thursday.

Future MP Nuhad Mashnouq Wednesday said his bloc could not adopt a final stance on the 8-8-8 Cabinet proposal before it received clear answers to five questions.

He said that the Future bloc sent questions to those involved in the Cabinet formation process including Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam concerning: the shape of the government; a blocking third, or veto power; the Cabinet's policy statement; rotation of all ministerial portfolios; and the right of the president and the prime minister-designate for "fair veto" to reject any name proposed.


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