Report: Cabinet Line-Up Close after President ‘Extends Hand’ to Political Parties

An appeasing statement issued by the presidential palace came in parallel with indications that political parties might have reached an agreement over the thorny issue of distribution of ministerial portfolios, heralding the formation of a new cabinet soon, al-Joumhouria daily reported Saturday.

The presidential message came at a time when the cabinet line-up is almost complete, sources from Baabda Presidential Palace told the daily.

The presidential statement is supposed to be a road map that leads to easing some difficulties hampering the formation of a new cabinet.

In a statement released by his media office Friday, President Michel Aoun extended his hand to political parties and expressed readiness to work with all sides for the benefit of Lebanon.

Wrangling over the distribution of ministerial portfolios lingers among the rival political parties, which has delayed the formation of a cabinet after aspirations that it would be lined-up before Independence Day on November 22.

In October, the parliament elected Aoun, a former general, as president ending a two-and-half-year deadlock that left Lebanon without a president.

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri was designated on November 3 to form a new government under the tenure of Aoun, but he is still facing obstacles bringing together a line-up that balances Lebanon’s delicate sectarian-based political system.

At stake is the distribution of the most powerful portfolios like the defense ministry and other key portfolios including the public works.