Hariri denies hindering Cabinet formation as Aoun ponders Parliamentary recourse

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Local media argued Thursday Aoun’s willingness to dispatch a letter to Parliament seeking further consultations on the matter during meetings with lawmakers at the Baabda Presidential Palace.

BEIRUT: President Michel Aoun’s office did not rule out Friday calling on Parliament to discuss the ongoing Cabinet formation deadlock, a day after local media reports suggested such a move was imminent.

Local media argued Thursday Aoun’s willingness to dispatch a letter to Parliament seeking further consultations on the matter during meetings with lawmakers at the Baabda Presidential Palace, putting Prime-Minister Saad Hariri’s position in jeopardy.

In a statement issued Friday, Aoun’s office claimed that such reports exaggerated the likeliness of such a recourse and arguments attributed to him do “not reflect the president’s position on the government formation.”

“The president considers that the Constitution grants lawmakers grants the right to appoint a Prime Minister-designate to form a government through binding consultations, therefore, if the formation continues to falter, it is only normal for the President to reach out to Parliament.”

Lebanon’s been without a fully functioning government since the last Cabinet entered its caretaker mode on May 21 following the parliamentary elections.

Political bickering and a tug and pull over the allocation of ministries seemed to have been resolved before Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threw his support behind a block of six independent Sunni MPs.

This prompted Hariri to dispel accusations of hindering the Cabinet formation, labeling them as an attempt to further stir tensions.

“No one is arguing the authority of the President to reach out to Parliament,” his office said in a statement, adding, however, that “some are trying to use this narrative to undermine the powers of the Prime Minister-designate.”

Hariri also reiterated his opposition to granting a ministry to the pro-Hezbollah Sunni block from his own share, while rejecting the possibility of upping the Cabinet to 32 Ministers.

“The Prime Minister has been forthcoming from day one of his preference of a 30 member Cabinet, in line with conventional government formations.”

 

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