A demand by so-called “independent” Sunni MPs for representation in the new Cabinet is impossible to meet and is intended to obstruct the formation, the Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc said Tuesday, in a strong rebuff to Hezbollah’s support for this demand.
This comes as Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai sent a message to Hezbollah, urging the party to help in eliminating obstacles facing the Cabinet formation process, which has entered its sixth month of deadlock.
Rai’s appeal came a day after he implicitly blamed Hezbollah for the Cabinet formation deadlock, over its support for the representation of Sunni MPs not affiliated with the Future Movement.
A national unity government embracing all the main political parties appeared ready to be announced late last month after the last major hurdle over the Lebanese Forces’ representation had been resolved.
But the Cabinet formation has since been stalled by a last-minute hitch over the issue of representing independent Sunni MPs.
Hezbollah’s insistence on the representation of the six so-called “independent” Sunni MPs in the new government was met with strong rejection by Prime Ministerdesignate Saad Hariri.
President Michel Aoun has backed Hariri’s position on the issue, saying that the six Sunni lawmakers did not have a right to representation because they were not part of a single parliamentary bloc.
Hariri, who has been in France on a private visit since last week, did not chair the Future bloc’s weekly meeting which discussed latest developments in the Cabinet formation.
“The bloc affirmed that the efforts made by Prime Minister Saad Hariri had led to a Cabinet lineup being ready to be announced. But the shock caused by the creation of a new impossible demand brought the Cabinet formation to a halt,” the bloc said in a statement after the meeting chaired by Sidon MP Bahia Hariri, the premier-designate’s aunt.