Bassil Vows Action if ‘Procrastination’ Drags for More than a Week


Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil on Tuesday pledged to facilitate the cabinet formation process as he warned that the FPM would take “more pressuring steps” should the efforts to put together a new government drag for more than one week.

“We will smother any new excuse not to form the government and it is clear that there is a fabrication of excuses in order not to form it,” Bassil said at a press conference that followed the weekly meeting of the FPM-led Strong Lebanon bloc.

“We have repeatedly proven that we are not clinging to any portfolio, including the energy portfolio, but we support the distribution of portfolios equally among blocs and sects,” Bassil added.

Vowing to do everything that can facilitate the formation of a new government, Bassil stressed that the FPM “wants a government” and that it wants it to be “led by PM-designate Saad Hariri.”

Moreover, the FPM chief said his movement “fully supports” Speaker Nabih Berri’s initiative and Hizbullah’s efforts that are aimed at speeding up the government’s formation.

His remarks come hours after he met with mediators from Hizbullah and Berri’s Amal Movement.

“The president is clear in not seeking any additional minister on top of the eight and he supports any mechanism or method for naming ministers who are not linked to him politically or in any way,” Bassil added, noting that such ministers could be “from the civil society or the Lebanese administration.”

He added: “We have proposed many ideas that eventually lead to not affiliating the ministers with any side, and if someone insists on rejecting us, we will back the government’s formation and we will work so that the president accepts it.”

“It will win the vote of confidence and we will not question its respect for the National Pact,” Bassil went on to say.

He, however, warned that “should procrastination drag for more than a week,” the FPM would again ask the president to call for a national dialogue conference in Baabda.

“Frankness around the table would certainly lead to expediting and facilitating formation, seeing as when things are clearly raised in everyone’s presence, tittle-tattle would stop and problems would be directly solved,” Bassil added.

He also pledged that should Hariri decide to boycott such a dialogue, the FPM would “think of a new initiative and more pressuring steps regarding the formation process.”



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