Berri Optimistic as Parties Say Govt. May be Formed within ’48 Hours’

Speaker Nabih Berri expressed optimism Wednesday that the line-up of the new Cabinet will be announced soon as some political parties declared that the government might be formed “within 48 or 72 hours.”

“The cabinet formation process is moving forward positively and some obstacles are being resolved,” MPs quoted Berri as saying during his weekly meeting with lawmakers in Ain el-Tineh.

The speaker also hoped the Cabinet will be formed before Independence Day, noting that “the government should be formed as soon as possible so that it can start addressing the pressing and vital issues and files.”

“The government must also embark on studying and approving an electoral law, which must be a top priority,” Berri added.

MP Qassem Hashem of Berri’s Development and Liberation bloc meanwhile announced that “the government line-up can be announced within 48 or 72 hours if the last obstacles are resolved.”

MP Ayyoub Hmayyed of the same bloc for his part stressed that the Marada Movement is a “key ally” of Berri’s AMAL Movement and the rest of the March 8 forces.

“We will not participate if Marada does not get an important ministerial portfolio,” Hmayyed added.

Following talks with caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq, MP Simon Abi Ramia of the Change and Reform bloc also said that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri will likely announce the line-up of his Cabinet “this week.”

The political forces are reportedly pushing for forming the Cabinet before Independence Day, which Lebanon marks on November 22.

Horsetrading is currently revolving around the distribution of the so-called sovereign ministerial portfolios – finance, defense, foreign affairs and interior – and other key portfolios like energy and public works.