Hariri's Cabinet Line-up - SUMMARY OF NEWS from Different Media

Move could prompt Hariri to step down as PM-designate
By Elias Sakr
Daily Star staff
Wednesday, September 09, 2009

 

BEIRUT: Opposition groups informed President Michel Sleiman Tuesday of their rejection of the cabinet line-up proposal submitted Monday by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, raising the possibility that the latter would step aside. “We do not consider what happened to be appropriate, either with our democratic values or in how to deal with us. We were demanding from [Hariri] to present a draft that is acceptable to our demands in order to negotiate over it,” said caretaker Telecommunications Minister Jebran Bassil, a Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) official, after meeting Sleiman at his summer residence in Beiteddine. 

 

“We have informed [the president] of our rejection but at the same time, we have illustrated all the readiness to continue dialogue and negotiation.” 

 

The opposition delegation comprised, in addition to Bassil, the political aide of Hizbullah’s secretary general Hussein Khalil and Amal Movement MP Ali Hassan Khalil. 

 

Hariri handed Sleiman his proposal on Monday, a move quickly rejected by the opposition alliance because they had not agreed to the draft. 

 

Political sources said Hariri might react to the opposition’s categoric refusal by stepping down. Should he do so, Sleiman is expected to hold consultations with parliamentarians this week to designate a new premier. 

 

With Hariri holding the majority in Parliament after winning in June 7 polls, he is expected to be reappointed, renewing his mandate for the premiership. 

 

Hariri had been unable to reach a deal with the opposition on the cabinet since he was appointed premier in June. 

 

Some fear the standoff could revive sectarian tensions which have frequently sparked street violence in the past. 

 

“The formation process usually takes place in agreement between the premier-designate and the president but Hariri’s proposal could lead to more tensions in the country at times when the opposition expressed positivity so as to facilitate the process and strengthen national-unity,” Bassil said. 

 

According to the Constitution, the cabinet’s formation decree is signed by the president and the premier-designate. 

 

However, Bassil stressed that the opposition remained open to further discussions and dialogue so as to preserve national-unity to solve the crisis. 

 

Nawaf Moussawi, a lawmaker of the FPM, a Hizbullah ally, said Tuesday the president would not sign the decree of the cabinet’s formation since the proposed line-up would lead to conflict among the Lebanese. 

 

Sleiman’s visitors had quoted him as saying Monday that he would only sign a “well-balanced” government proposal. 

 

Meanwhile, the Future Movement parliamentary bloc voiced support for Hariri’s initiative, while emphasizing the premier-designate’s constitutional prerogatives with regard to the cabinet formation. 

 

Following a meeting headed by caretaker Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, the bloc issued a statement calling on all political parties to respond to Hariri’s initiative without resorting to threats and in accordance with constitutional norms. 

 

The statement added that the proposal based on the 15-10-5 formula embraced national unity in accordance with the results of the June 7 parliamentary elections and established the principle of rotating ministerial portfolios among parties. 

 

During an iftar later Tuesday, Siniora said Hariri had submitted his proposal “in a bid to reject attempts aimed to intimidate the premier-designate or weaken him.”
 
Hariri’s proposed cabinet formula also failed to please his parliamentary majority ally the Phalange Party. 

 

Phalange leader Amin Gemayel said Hariri’s proposal concerning the cabinet did not match his party’s expectations. 

 

“I will conduct the necessary discussions with the premier-designate and the president to reconsider the Phalange party’s share in the next cabinet,” Gemayel said. 

 

Media reports published Tuesday said the Phalange had only been assigned the Tourism Ministry while the Lebanese Forces (LF) had received the Social Affairs and Industry ministries. 

 

A source close to the LF told the state-run National News Agency said on Tuesday that the party would hold a meeting to discuss its share in the government, adding that if the situation on both the domestic and foreign level were not “dangerous, the LF would have taken another stance.” 

 

Hariri’s cabinet proposal is based on the 15-10-5 formula. 

 

The 15-10-5 cabinet structure grants the majority 15 ministers, the opposition 10 and Sleiman five seats, which guarantees him the tipping vote while both the March 14 and the opposition are respectively denied absolute majority or veto power. 

 

The parliamentary majority had rejected on several occasions the nomination of ministerial candidates who were defeated in the June 7 parliamentary polls. 

 

Bassil, who ran for one of two seats in his hometown of Batroun, lost to March 14 MPs; his father-in-law FPM leader MP Michel Aoun insists that the caretaker minister be reappointed for a second term at the Telecommunications Ministry. 

 

Aoun also wants to be assigned a “sovereign” portfolio. 

 

Sovereign portfolios include the Defense, Interior, Finance and Foreign ministries. 

 

Media reports said that Hariri assigned the FPM the Labor, Higher Education, and Public Works and Transportation ministries along with two state ministries. 

 

Media leaks added that the Telecommunications Ministry along with the Ministry of the Displaced was assigned to the Progressive Socialist Party, while the Future Movement retained the Finance and Economy portfolios. 

 

Tackling Hariri’s refusal to take into account Aoun’s demands, FPM’s caretaker Social Works Minister Mario Aoun said the premier-designate’s proposal aimed to challenge the FPM’s right to nominate his ministers. 

 

Hizbullah’s number two Sheikh Naim Qassem called Tuesday on politicians to support consensus rather than adopt “a confrontational approach.” 
FPM Metn MP Ibrahim Kanaan said on Tuesday that Hariri’s proposal overlooked constitutional norms “since it denied the president the role to have a say in cabinet formation.” 

 

Kanaan also warned against attempts to instigate conflict between the opposition and the president. 

 

Separately, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams expressed concerns, following talks with Speaker Nabih Berri Monday, that no agreement over the cabinet had been reached more than 10 weeks after the designation of Hariri as premier-designate and despite intense efforts to do so. 

 

“I call on all Lebanese to continue to work toward the goal of a unity government. Democracy needs compromise. Lebanon must not return to the old days of polarization and crisis,” Williams said. – With Reuters
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BEIRUT, Lebanon, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The opposition movement in Lebanon will move with a unified stance in its negative response to the proposed new government, Hezbollah says.

Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri presented his Cabinet lineup to President Michel Suleiman based on a power-sharing agreement reached with opposition lawmakers earlier this year.

That agreement gives 15 ministers to Hariri's March 14 slate, 10 ministers to the opposition March 8 coalition and five to allies of Suleiman.

Opposition leaders, including Hezbollah, complained Hariri went forward without their consent, Hezbollah's al-Manar network reports.

"I don't think that the method employed today takes Lebanon out of the government formation crisis," said Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah. "On the contrary, it further complicates the problem."

Hezbollah singled out a failure to appoint caretaker Telecommunications Minister Gebran Bassil to another term as a cause for concern. Bassil was not re-elected in the June parliamentary elections, though Nasrallah said his exclusion from the next Cabinet was "suspicious."

Hariri maintained he was within his constitutional right to move forward with his Cabinet proposal, adding he would now wait for Suleiman's response, Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper reports.

Michel Aoun, the leader of the opposition Free Patriotic Movement, called on his lawmakers to withdraw their Cabinet nominations in response.

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A special report obtained by Naharnet Tuesday revealed that Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces boss Samir Geagea have also come out against Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's proposed Cabinet lineup.
Kataeb sources said Gemayel will inform both President Michel Suleiman and Hariri about his rejection of the appointment of MP Sami Gemayel as tourist minister.
The sources told Naharnet that Sami Gemayel's appointment could take place if: 1- the group was given two seats, and not just one, 2- on condition that Sami Gemayel is given a ministry "more important" than tourism.
They pointed that Phalange party member Elie Marouni could be reassigned as tourist minister "since he has proven himself to be responsible."
Regarding Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's stance, Naharnet learned that the LF boss has expressed reservation about Hariri's Cabinet deal, both in terms of the portfolios given to the party (industry and social works) or the ministries given to the Free Patriotic Movement.
The sources said Geagea fears that once given the education, labor and public works ministries, FPM leader Michel Aoun would get the upper hand on universities, schools, trade unions and social security services as well as roads, major projects, urban planning and infrastructure in a way that would allow him to exploit the state's potentials to reinforce his political position among Christians.
 
 
 
 
 
Phalange, Lebanese Forces also Disagree over Hariri-Propopsed Cabinet Deal
A special report obtained by Naharnet Tuesday revealed that Phalange Party leader Amin Gemayel and Lebanese Forces boss Samir Geagea have also come out against Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri's proposed Cabinet lineup.

Kataeb sources said Gemayel will inform both President Michel Suleiman and Hariri about his rejection of the appointment of MP Sami Gemayel as tourist minister.

The sources told Naharnet that Sami Gemayel's appointment could take place if: 1- the group was given two seats, and not just one, 2- on condition that Sami Gemayel is given a ministry "more important" than tourism.

They pointed that Phalange party member Elie Marouni could be reassigned as tourist minister "since he has proven himself to be responsible."

Regarding Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea's stance, Naharnet learned that the LF boss has expressed reservation about Hariri's Cabinet deal, both in terms of the portfolios given to the party (industry and social works) or the ministries given to the Free Patriotic Movement.

The sources said Geagea fears that once given the education, labor and public works ministries, FPM leader Michel Aoun would get the upper hand on universities, schools, trade unions and social security services as well as roads, major projects, urban planning and infrastructure in a way that would allow him to exploit the state's potentials to reinforce his political position among Christians.

Earlier Tuesday, Gemayel said the Cabinet list leaked to the media "was not the one we had agreed upon both in terms of names and portfolios."

Gemayel, however, said he would contact both President Michel Suleiman and Hariri to convey his rejection.

Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has slammed Hariri for proposing a Cabinet lineup that he says will only complicate the situation in Lebanon.

Hariri on Monday presented a 30-seat coalition Cabinet for the president's approval, more than three months after the majority March 14 alliance won a general election, but the Opposition openly rejected the move.

 
 

Beirut, 08 Sep 09, 18:23
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hariri's Cabinet Line-up
PM-designate Saad Hariri's cabinet line-up gave five ministries – four portfolios plus one state ministry – to the Free Patriotic Movement and four seats to women, media reports said Tuesday.
Here is a list of names with sectarian divisions:

Sunnis: Raya Haffar al-Hassan for the finance ministry, Mohammed Safadi, Tammam Salam, Assaad Harmoush (Jamaa Islamiyah), Ghaleb Mahmasani from the president's share, in addition to Hariri.

Maronites: Ziad Baroud, Joe Sarkis (the LF), Sami Gemayel (Phalange), Farid Elias al-Khazen and Alain Aoun (FPM) and Vera Yammine (Marada).

Shiites: Mohammed Jawad Khalifeh, Yassine Jaber or Jihad Murtada and a third for Amal movement, Mohammed Fneish and Hussein al-Hajj Hassan (Hizbullah) and Adnan al-Sayyed Hussein from the president's share.

Druze: Ghazi Aridi for the telecommunications or public works (if it wasn't given to an FPM representative), Wael Abou Faour for the displaced and Akram Sheyyab as state minister.

Catholics: Michel Pharaon from the majority, Edgard Maalouf (FPM) and Judge Micheline Breidy from the president's share.

Orthodox: Elias Murr, Imad Wakim, Tareq Mitri and Atef Majdalani.

Armenians: Jean Oghassabian and Hagop Pakradounian (who might get the labor ministry).

An Nahar said that the FPM got the following cabinet seats:
The public works ministry for Alain Aoun
The education ministry for Farid Elias al-Khazen
The culture ministry for Edgard Maalouf
The labor ministry for Hagop Pakradounian
State minister for Vera Yammine
 
 

Beirut, 08 Sep 09, 11:42