Hariri Meets Aoun, Says Govt. Line-Up Needs More Consultations despite Optimism

Prime Minister Saad Hariri, right smiles after he meeting Lebanon's newly elected President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda, east of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. Aoun, on Thursday asked former Premier Saad Hariri to form a new government, after he secured an overwhelming parliamentary majority to be named as the next prime minister. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri held talks Wednesday with President Michel Aoun at the Baabda Palace, amid reports that the cabinet line-up will be announced in the coming hours after the main obstacles were resolved.

“The cabinet line-up needs further consultations,” Hariri told reporters after the meeting.

According to MTV, Hariri carried to the Baabda Palace a “flexible” 24-minister cabinet line-up that “comprises candidates whom the parties had previously agreed on,” in addition to the names of “six new candidates who would be appointed as state ministers” should there be a decision to form a 30-member government.

“Hariri looked unrelaxed as he left the Baabda Palace,” MTV said, adding that the PM-designate has reservations over Aoun’s desire to appoint Salim Jreissati as justice minister due to the candidate’s opposition to the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

“There’s also a dispute over the sixth Shiite candidate and Hariri also has reservations over Aoun’s desire to name Yaaqoub al-Sarraf as defense minister,” the TV network added.

The formation process made major progress on Monday and Tuesday after the political parties reached a settlement over the thorny issue of the public works portfolio. Under the settlement, the Marada Movement will be given the public works portfolio while the Lebanese Forces will get the health portfolio.