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Lebanon: Government Expected to See Light Early Next Week

Lebanon: Government Expected to See Light Early Next Week

Thursday, 18 October, 2018 - 05:45
Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil meets with Information Minister Melhem Riachi (NNA).

Several indicators are pointing to the imminent birth of the new Lebanese government.

The Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) and the Lebanese Forces (LF) ended days of mutual boycott through a meeting on Wednesday between Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil and Information Minister Melhem Riachi.

Several nodes that were hindering the government’s formation have been resolved, according to well-informed ministerial sources, who told Asharq Al-Awsat that the final touches were made and that the new Cabinet would be announced at the end of this week or early next week at the latest, upon the return of Speaker Nabih Berri from Geneva.

On the other hand, the sources talked about the emergence of a new node, represented by the demand of Berri’s bloc to acquire the ministry of social affairs, which is regarded as a “semi-key portfolio”, in addition to the finance ministry. The sources noted in this regard that this request could be resolved quickly by a last-minute exchange of portfolios.

President Michel Aoun on Wednesday followed up on the ongoing efforts aimed at finalizing the formation of the new government.

“The government file is a top priority now,” Aoun told his visitors as reported by the NNA, hoping “the new Cabinet will be formed in the nearest time possible to face the various challenges, on top of which the economy.”

Berri expressed his optimism towards the imminent formation of the government. In remarks from Geneva, he said: “I cannot say that the formation process has been finalized, but I can say that progress is happening in leaps and bounds.”

Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt, for his part, emphasized that accelerating the formation of the government was “more than necessary because the economic situation is above all considerations.”

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