Jumblat: Govt. Formation Process Moving Slowly but Steadily

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat announced Thursday that the process of forming the first government under President Michel Aoun is moving “slowly but steadily.”

“The government formation process is moving forward slowly, but apparently steadily,” Jumblat said in a tweet accompanied by an illustration of several people riding a convoy of elephants.

Jumblat discussed the issue of the new government overnight Wednesday with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

Jumblat’s Democratic Gathering might propose the appointment of MP Marwan Hamadeh and ex-MP Ayman Shqeir as ministers in Hariri’s cabinet while leaving the third Druze seat to Lebanese Democratic Party leader MP Talal Arslan, An Nahar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Aoun’s election as president and Hariri’s appointment as premier-designate have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In a sign that Hariri’s task ahead might not be easy, Hizbullah’s MPs declined to endorse him for the prime minister post.

Hariri is likely to struggle with his government’s policy statement, which will have to make reference to Israel, as well as the war in Syria, both potential flashpoints with Hizbullah.

The process of forming a government could take months, with horsetrading likely to revolve around the distribution of key posts like the finance, defense and energy ministries.