Report: President Suspends Hariri’s ‘Hopeful’ Cabinet Line-Up

President Michel Aoun did not approve the draft line-up of a new cabinet submitted to him by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri, contrary to claims that alleged otherwise, which spoils the hopes of a near final agreement on the shape of the new government, media reports said Friday.

During their meeting on Wednesday, reports said that Hariri submitted to Aoun a draft line-up that might be announced soon.

According to As Safir daily, Aoun did not approve the draft, but asked to be given some time to study the details related to the distribution of some ministerial portfolios.

Hariri seemed shocked with the reaction of the President who told Hariri to leave the papers for him to study, “leave it here…I am grateful,” said Aoun according to As Safir.

Hariri was designated early in November to form a new government with efforts pushing to conclude the mission before Independence Day which Lebanon marks on November 22.

Some difficulties have however rose amid wrangling over the so-called sovereign and services-related portfolios.

According to media reports, a settlement has been reached under which the Lebanese Forces will be given the deputy premier post instead of a so-called sovereign portfolio.

Anther obstacle in the wrangling is revolving around Marada Movement’s insistence to get one of three key portfolios – public works or energy or telecommunications.

Aoun’s election 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 mission as premier might not be easy, Hizbullah’s MPs declined to endorse him during binding parliamentary consultations.

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.