Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil announced Tuesday that the FPM has decided not to take part in the government that is supposed to be formed by PM-designate Najib Miqati.
“PM-designate Miqati has been appointed without our approval or nomination, and this is an additional proof that we are not the majority and that we have never been part of any majority in parliament and the governments,” Bassil told reporters after the FPM-led Strong Lebanon bloc met with Miqati as part of the nonbinding government formation consultations.
“After PM Miqati’s designation it is normal that we have become in the aiding position, seeing as we do not practice political bickering,” Bassil added.
“We are with forming a government as soon as possible and we wish him success… and we’ll also help him,” the FPM chief went on to say.
He added that it is the FPM’s duty to “offer all the necessary facilitations and support.”
Bassil, however, noted that his bloc informed Miqati of its decision not to take part in the government.
“Accordingly, we won’t interfere at all in the formation process and this could be a helpful element,” Bassil added.
Asked whether the FPM will be represented as part of President Michel Aoun’s share, Bassil said: “When we were in the (same) government, PM Miqati believed in the idea of the full constitutional partner, and this matter is enough for us.”
Miqati’s nonbinding consultations also involved meetings with Speaker Nabih Berri, ex-PMs Saad Hariri and Tammam Salam, Deputy Speaker Elie Ferzli and the blocs of the Amal Movement, al-Mustaqbal Movement, Hizbullah, Marada and the Progressive Socialist Party.
“The time is for work, not talking,” said Salam as he left parliament.
Speaking in the name of Amal’s Development and Liberation bloc, MP Anwar al-Khalil called for speeding up the formation process in order to meet “the needs of the people.”
“Should formation take place, God willing in a short time, the PM must work on the implementation of all of the constitution’s articles, in addition to the reformation of the electoral law, because it has divided people into sectarian segments and it must be amended,” al-Khalil added.
MP Samir al-Jisr meanwhile spoke on behalf of the al-Mustaqbal bloc.
“We urged the PM-designate to expedite the formation process as much as possible, because the country can no longer withstand delay and because we believe that the country’s salvation begins with the formation of a capable government,” Jisr said.
“Once it reaches an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, this government can put the country on the course of salvation, and we emphasized on what he said about the formation of a government of specialists,” Jisr added.
Asked about the interior portfolio, the MP said the bloc did not request it from the PM-designate.
“We have not asked for 24 or 12 ministers and this matter is up to him,” Jisr added.
The head of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc, MP Mohammed Raad, meanwhile stressed that the bloc will cooperate to “speed up the formation of the government of necessity, in order to rescue the country and reassure the Lebanese about their living, instead of leaving them prey to mafias.”
“We did not ask for anything for our bloc and we asked that the government be formed of ministers who have expertise and prudence,” Raad added.
The Lebanese Forces bloc meanwhile said that it will not grant the new government confidence in parliament, noting that “this is not related to the government but rather to the ruling structure.”
The Armenian bloc for its part said that it wants to take part in the new government although it did not name Miqati in the binding consultations.
“Our decision is different than that of the Strong Lebanon bloc,” the bloc added.