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
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.
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.