The Presidency on Monday hit back at a statement issued by PM-designate Saad Hariri and accused him of presenting a one-sided cabinet line-up in his latest meeting with President Michel Aoun.
Responding to what it called “fallacies” in Hariri’s statement, the Presidency’s press office said Aoun’s objection was based on “the manner in which portfolios were allocated to sects,” noting that there was no discussion of candidates.
“President Aoun objected to PM Hariri’s one-sided naming of ministers, especially Christians, without an agreement with the President,” the statement said.
“President Aoun has never proposed partisan names for ministerial seats and has not handed the PM-designate a list of names,” the statement added.
It also said that Aoun told Hariri that there should be consultations with the heads of the parliamentary blocs in order to “reach a government capable of confronting the circumstances away from obstinacy and the distortion of facts.”
Later in the day, Hariri’s press office responded in a new statement.
“The PM-designate received a list of names nominated for ministerial seats in the second meeting (with the President) and he chose four names for Christian figures from it, contrary to what the palace’s statement mentioned about the PM-designate’s one-sided naming of the Christian ministers,” the statement said.
It also called on the Presidency to “give its instructions for the halt of manipulation in the cabinet formation process and to rein in the advisers in a manner that facilitates the formation process instead of complicating it.”
“The top priority is to exit the tunnel of the crisis and its social and economic repercussions and to put the country on the track of real salvation,” the statement added.
Earlier in the day, Hariri had accused Baabda of being behind the ongoing delay in the cabinet formation process.
“The President is asking for a government in which all political parties are represented… which will inevitably lead to… repeating the experiences of several governments controlled by quotas and political tensions,” Hariri said.