BEIRUT: Lebanese forces leader Samir Geagea and the head of the Future Movement Saad Hariri agreed to take a united stance over the Cabinet formation, the National News Agency reported Tuesday.
The state-run agency’s report said that during an hour-long phone call, both Geagea and Hariri stressed “the unity of the March 14 coalition, especially over the Cabinet.”
The former prime minister also spoke to Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel over the phone and the two discussed ongoing efforts to form a new Cabinet, the NNA said.
Hariri's contact with his allies in the March 14 coalition comes as hopes recently emerged over the formation of an all-inclusive Cabinet based on an 8-8-8 lineup, which was put forward by Speaker Nabih Berri and MP Walid Jumblatt.
The proposal would give the March 8 and March 14 coalitions each eight ministers, with “decisive ministers” allotted to each side from the remaining eight ministerial portfolios designated for centrists.
Media reports has hinted at a possible rift between the Lebanese Forces and their allies in the Future Movement as the latter has expressed willingness to discuss the formation of an all-embracing Cabinet that comprises Hezbollah’s participation.
The NNA also said that Hariri hailed Monday’s speech by Geagea during an event in Maarab commemorating assassinated former Minister Mohammad Shatah.
In his speech, Geagea reiterated his opposition to an all-embracing Cabinet and said such a government would certainly fail to address domestic and regional issues.
LF MP Antoine Zahra said last week his group and the Future Movement will eventually take a united stance over the issue, whether the decision is for or against the 8-8-8 Cabinet proposal.
Separately, Caretaker Social Affairs Minister Wael Abu Faour of Jumblatt’s Progressive Socialist Party, traveled overnight to Riyadh. His visit is reportedly part of ongoing efforts to form a national unity Cabinet.
Gemayel said Monday his party would not join a Cabinet that would "provide a cover for Hezbollah's participation in Syria."
Meanwhile, President Michel Sleiman reiterated the call for forming a “balanced Cabinet” and said rival political parties should benefit from the current opportunity, the suggestion to form a national unity Cabinet based on an 8-8-8 lineup.