The government formation file has returned to square one, countering the optimism of the past days.
After PM Najib Mikati had agreed with President Michel Aoun on announcing the government once he returns from abroad, Mikati was surprised upon his return that the situation has changed.
“Free Patriotic Movement chief Gebran Bassil had interfered with the President to propose changing all his ministers in the government and naming political ministers instead or expanding the government by adding six political state ministers,” a top official told al-Joumhouria newspaper.
“This was rejected by Mikati, who told those concerned that he is not in a hurry anymore to form the government as long as things have reached this level of proposals and discussion,” the official added.
Sources informed on the formation process meanwhile told Nidaa al-Watan newspaper that Bassil “has sent a list containing his conditions in a sealed envelope to Mikati, saying that they are the President’s demands regarding the government’s line-up.”
The conditions include “making first-degree appointments that start with the central bank governor and do not end with the deans of the Lebanese University, in addition to security appointments whose timing is not appropriate,” the sources said.
Mikati was “concise and firm in his response, stressing that he will not form a government under anyone’s conditions and that the constitution’s texts are clear as the sun,” the sources added.
As for Mikati’s delayed visit to Baabda, political sources told al-Liwaa newspaper that there are political contacts in this regard and that General Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim is taking part in the mediation efforts.