BEIRUT: Caretaker Social Affair Wael Abu Faour signaled Monday that a fait accompli government could soon be formed, amid lingering opposition by the Free Patriotic Movement to a March 14 demand that would pave the way for an all-embracing government.
“President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam might have to declare a caesarian birth for the Cabinet,” Faour told Voice of Lebanon radio station.
His reference to a “caesarian birth” is understood as a fait accompli Cabinet, which Hezbollah and the March 8 coalition have repeatedly warned against.
Abu Faour said the National Struggle Front, headed by MP Walid Jumblatt, still sought an all-embracing Cabinet but “the difficulty of reaching this aim might impose other choices that the Front is against.”
The minister’s comments come after as Hezbollah continues to push its ally FPM chief MP Michel Aoun into compromising over the rotation of ministerial portfolios, a March 14 alliance demand for joining an all-embracing Cabinet.
Aoun insists on reappointing members of his party to the Energy Ministry and Telecoms Ministry, saying such a mechanism should only be introduced at the start of a new Parliament or new presidential term.
Caretaker Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, Aoun’s son-in-law, stood firm Sunday on the FPM’s opposition to the rotation of ministerial portfolios among sects, saying the Energy Ministry was a strategic asset for Christians and ensured their role in the country.
In a televised news conference, Bassil also said the rotation policy targeted the FPM’s achievements at the Energy Ministry and said any change in his post would reflect negatively on the entire oil sector.
He also warned that any compromise between Hezbollah and the Future Movement over a new Cabinet should not be at the expense of Christians.
Meanwhile, Speaker Nabih Berri said in remarks published Monday contacts were ongoing to form an all-embracing Cabinet.
“I did what I had to do to facilitate the formation of a government [but] I am waiting for the others [to do the same],” Berri told Al-Joumhouria newspaper.
“Based on what I know, the efforts and contacts are ongoing and I don't have anything new to add in this regard,” he said.
Hezbollah MP Kamel al-Rifai said talks between his party and Aoun have so far failed to produce tangible results and urged other officials to take part in the ongoing negotiations.
"Hezbollah is holding serious consultations with MP Michel Aoun but they did not reach a conclusion. Therefore, the [negotiation] circle should be expanded to include other people,” he told a local radio station.
He also urged the president and the prime minister-designate to hold talks with Aoun to narrow differences.