On the 16th anniversary of the assassination of his father, PM-designate Saad Hariri revealed to the press during a televised speech on Sunday the complete government formation that President Michel Aoun had denied presenting to him.
Hariri has now responded to the president’s claim by showing, during his 25-minute speech on Sunday, the list of names of potential ministers that Aoun had allegedly presented to him.
Hariri did not state the names written on that list captured by the press, which compelled the Lebanese people, including journalists, to use their skills to zoom in and squeeze out the names to reveal them to the public.
Lynn Zovighian, managing director at a family-owned social investment platform, teamed up with journalists and social media users to reveal the 22 names in the list of Michel Aoun, which includes 18 male candidates and 4 female candidates.
The names of the candidates were listed with their specific sect, as follows:
Foreign Affairs Minister: Abdullah About Habib (Maronite)
Interior Minister: Faris Faris (Sunni)
Defense Minister: Jean Salloum (Greek Orthodox)
Finance Minister: Samir Assaf (Maronite)
Justice Minister: Joelle Fawaz (Catholic)
Telecommunications Minister: Ahmad Aweedat (Sunni)
Energy Minister: Beyar Khoury (Catholic)
Economy Minister: Amin Salem (Sunni)
Social Affairs Minister: Raymond Tarbiyah (Maronite)
Labor Minister: Antoine Wakim (Maronite)
Environment Minister: Manal Moussalam (Catholic)
Tourism Minister: Jean Beirut (Maronite)
Industry Minister: Jacques Sarraf (Maronite)
Public works and Transportation Minister: Fadi Jarrarah (Maronite)
Education Minister: Mounter Fatfat (Sunni)
Health Minister: Petra Khoury (Greek Orthodox)
Media Minister: Nada Andraous (Not identified)
Minister of the Displaced: Reda Azar (Not identified)
Youth and Sports Minister: Walid Nassar (Not identified)
Administrative Development Minister: Roni Lahoud (Maronite)
Culture Minister: Fayez Dahdah (Maronite)
Agriculture Minister: Zafer El Shawi (Catholic)
Zovighian took it a step forward and brought together the lists of both Aoun and Hariri in a brief comparison document, which she shared on Twitter, noting one common candidate between both.
It is worth noting that, as the Lebanese people have been expecting for months a new government of technocrats that could bring in the much-needed reforms, both these lists, as presented, cite the names with their sects and not their qualifications or the required expertise to bring the country out of its multiple crises.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise since the stalling of the government formation hasn’t been a matter of selecting the best-qualified candidates as a top priority or a matter of disagreement about qualifications.
Aoun, who has been accused to be a chief player in the deadlock, did hit back at Hariri’s speech, as the political bickering continues.
However, instead of addressing the list and his previous denial of it, his media office accused the PM-designate of “exploiting” the anniversary of his father’s death and trying to impose unconstitutional norms in the Cabinet formation process.
The statement, which was issued the same evening, on Sunday, described Hariri‘s speech as “containing many misconceptions and untrue remarks to which we will not respond in detail because it is difficult to sum up 14 sessions in a statement.”
Therefore, the president neither denied nor confirmed the list and its content.