| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

12th Mikati, Aoun’s meeting postponed, and back to square 1 in some portfolios

President Mikati was expected to visit Baabda Palace today, but he canceled the visit after an indirect communication with the palace, in which he was informed of the President’s persistence regarding the 4 portfolios he named, justice, energy, labor and social affairs, portfolios that will be granted for Christians. It was known that the names suggested by Aoun, were rejected by Mikati, either forbeing provocative, or not independent, and some of them belong to the Free Patriotic Movement. Mikati suggested alternative names for it and was waiting for the President’s response.

So far, it is obvious  that the proposed line-up, even with some modification, will be far from the government of independent specialists, and some of the proposed names, are 100 percent partisan, which means that if the government is formed, it will be an exact copy of the previous governments, where each party has one or more ministers.

Mikati’s lineup adhered to the old one regarding the sovereign portfolios in terms of sectarian and political distribution, but the dispute is still circulating about the justice portfolio. As for the service portfolios, some of them were assigned to political forces, while others are still under drliberation amidst lots of contradictory data. While sources close to Mikati deny that work portfolio will be of  Hezbollah’s share, it stresses that this portfolio will be given to Jumblatt or Franjieh, Aoun insists on naming the Christian Minister of labor, while sources close to Hezbollah reveal that the Ministry of labor and Transportation will be assigned to the ‘party,” and the name proposed is a Bekaai retired Brigadier who belongs to  Hamiya family, he presents himself as independent and not affiliated with the party, as happened when the current Minister of Health, Muhammad Hassan, was named. Here arises the problem of the party’s access to work and transportation which means officially taking over the sea, air and land crossings, which may constitute a problem for the Mikati government towards the international community.

Labor portfolio will be of Hezbollah’s share and culture shared between Amal and Hezbollah, as mentioned in the proposed line-up, and the proposed name is Muhammad Murtada. As for the Ministry of Energy, which is still the node, and lack of agreement on the name to take over, is the problem, knowing that Mikati was trying to keep it within his share, a suggestion that Aoun refuses.  Marada circles confirm, that what has been presented to Franjieh so far stipulates that the Marada movement should be represented in the government by 2 Maronites, and that the communications portfolio should be of its share with another portfolio, likely to be the industry.

Will there be a government this week? The answer to this question requires foreknowledge, but Mikati’s sources, who currently rule out an apology, are still counting on international pressures for forming the government, based on what diplomatic sources revealed to “ “Sawt Beirut International”, that the US ambassador informed Aoun, that if a government was not formed, Lebanon would live in international isolation. On the other hand, those who know the personality of the President of the Republic affirm that international pressure and the threat of sanctions did not work with him. He either reaches a comprehensive agreement with Mikati for the entire next stage, with all its titles and files, and in a manner that comforts the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, or there will be no government.