An initiative launched by Speaker Nabih Berri seems to possess the ability to make a breakthrough in the cabinet formation crisis, media reports published Thursday said, as optimism surged in light of upbeat remarks voiced by Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
Berri, who discussed his initiative with PM-designate Saad Hariri days ago, will fine-tune his initiative to become compatible with the conditions of each of President Michel Aoun and Hariri, the pro-Hizbullah al-Akhbar newspaper reported.
“After Hariri’s line-up was leaked, and in the wake of the attack it faced, especially in terms of allotting several ministers two portfolios each, the PM-designate became unable to cling to an 18-minister government or to defend it, seeing as such a government does not meet the criterion of specialty,” al-Akhbar added.
“That’s why the PM-designate seemed, for the first time, open to increasing the number of ministers,” the newspaper said.
Hariri is however still insisting that no camp should get a one-third-plus-one share and that the principle of specialty should be respected, al-Akhbar added.
Noting that Hizbullah has intervened in a bid to secure the success of Berri’s initiative, the daily said the stance of Aoun and Free Patriotic Movement chief Jebran Bassil about the one-third-plus-one share is yet to be known, with Baabda Palace sources saying that they have not been contacted regarding any new initiative.
The sources added that Hariri has not also requested any new meeting with the president.
Al-Akhbar added that Hizbullah is, however, expected to “communicate with Aoun and Bassil.”
Sources involved in the initiative meanwhile voiced optimism that the government could be formed should the one-third-plus-one hurdle be resolved, after Hariri “gave up the 18-minister government demand.”
“The issue of the distribution of portfolios will not be an obstacle,” the sources said.
Informed sources meanwhile told Nidaa al-Watan newspaper that “an indication suggesting that both sides have agreed to follow this path would be a visit by Berri to the presidential palace.”
“This would practically mean that Berri has secured Hariri’s final approval on a 24-minister line-up based on the 8+8+8 formula and that he would personally go to Baabda to finalize the issue with the president,” the sources added.