Jumblat Urges Avoiding ‘Crippling Demands’ in Govt. Formation

Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat called Sunday on all political forces to avoid “crippling demands” regarding the line-up of the new government.

“What’s important is to facilitate the formation of the Cabinet and shun crippling demands,” Jumblat tweeted, during or shortly after a key speech in Baabda by newly-elected President Michel Aoun.

Aoun’s election and the appointment of Saad Hariri as Prime Minister-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, even though his nomination was all-but-assured.

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 interior, defense and energy ministries.