Report: Changes in the Balance of Distribution Delays Cabinet Formation

Lining up a new cabinet could be delayed until next week because President Michel Aoun suggested to grant specific titles to the ministers who will be given a state portfolio, which Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said presses the need for reconsidering the distribution of ministerial portfolios, the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa daily reported.

Aoun did not in principle object to lining up a cabinet of 30 minsters, said the daily. He only suggested giving specific titles for the candidates who will be given a state portfolio to give their post some significance. A State Minister would for example become Minister of State for Presidential Affairs or Minister of State for Foreign and Financial affairs, etc.

Hariri found this a case to re-examine the distribution of ministerial portfolios which led to the postponement of the government formation until the next week, and possibly until after the New year, added the daily.

The above could lead to clear modifications in the previous distribution of balance which was completed based on forming a cabinet of 24 ministers. It presses the need for a new round of consultations, said al-Anbaa.

After a settlement was reached under which the Marada Movement would be given the controversial public works portfolio and the Lebanese Forces would get the health portfolio, the cabinet formation process ran into new obstacles in the wake of the parties’ decision to raise the number of seats from 24 to 30.

The parties are reportedly bickering over the six new candidates amid reservations over some controversial figures as well as over the shares of some parties.