Suspension of Appointments Sign of Hezbollah Role in Containing Lebanon Govt. Disputes
A leading political source told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that the reasons Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab has presented to justify delaying the appointments of candidates to key positions in the central bank and financial sector were irrelevant.
The source said Diab did not postpone the process because he rejected appointments based on sectarian quotas, but because he was obliged to.
“Hezbollah is mediating between government forces and the party acts as a leverage in moving Diab’s cabinet upward,” the source noted.
On Thursday, the Lebanese government prevented disputes among its members after Diab withdrew an item on appointments in the financial and banking sector from the agenda of a session held at the Baabda Palace.
Defending his decision, Diab said he sees that “the appointments should be based upon competence and not political quotas.”
“The PM was not very much fortunate when he linked the decision of withdrawing the item of appointments to the political quota because Diab’s own share in those same financial and banking posts, was already secured,” he said.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Diab withdrew the item on appointments after receiving instructions from Hezbollah to save his government from any collapse following a dispute on the size of representation between Marada Movement leader Suleiman Frangieh and head of the Free Patriotic Movement Gebran Bassil.
Franjieh’s Marada Movement accused the FPM on monopolizing the shares of the Maronite sect in public jobs and had threatened to withdraw his ministers from the cabinet.
The source asserted that Bassil was the main and even the sole loser after failing to pass the appointments. The FPM leader simply miscalculated the positions of the Shiite duo in this regard.
“Hezbollah sent a clear message to Bassil not to neglect the Shiite party’s ally, Franjieh,” the source said.
Another source close to Hezbollah and the Amal Movement said that the FPM leader was wrong when he thought that Hezbollah would support his position inside the cabinet against Franjieh.
“The Shiite party wants to protect Diab’s government from any collapse, particularly in light of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s threats to withdraw his deputies from the current Parliament,” the source said.