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Lebanon: Bassil Converges With Ally Hezbollah In Govt Formation Crisis

Lebanon: Bassil Converges With Ally Hezbollah In Govt Formation Crisis

Monday, 22 February, 2021 - 11:15
Then-caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Beirut, Lebanon December 12, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

The head of Lebanon's Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), MP Gebran Bassil, converged with his ally, Hezbollah, on the government formation issue, in what he described as an “initiative”, to form a cabinet of 20 or 22 ministers, denying his insistence of the “vetoing third” and speaking of attempts to topple President Michel Aoun.


During a press conference on Sunday, Bassil lashed out at Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, criticizing his resignation at the start of the popular uprising in October 2019.


“We believed that the crisis on October 17, 2019 will push the prime minister at the time to assume responsibility with his constitutional partner, the President of the Republic, not to turn against him and stab him in the back by resigning without even telling him...”


While he stressed that he didn’t want to participate in the new government under the conditions set by the premier-designate, Bassil stated: “There are those who want the presidency to lose more days [of the tenure] without a government… They don’t have a problem if the country collapses, what is important for them is that Michel Aoun falls.”


The head of the FPM attacked the Christian leaders for not standing by him in the face of attempts to monopolize the rights of Christians, saying: “They leave us alone… If we win, they benefit, as happened in the governments and the election law…”


Bassil proposed what he described as an initiative by the FPM to get out of the government crisis.


He said that the number of ministers be raised from 18 to 20, on condition that the President of the Republic does not take the additional Christian minister.


And for the ministerial portfolios, Bassil said he insisted on a “fair and balanced distribution” provided that unified standards are applied.


“We accept what Hezbollah agrees on,” he underlined.


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