Lebanese parliament speaker demands Hizbollah representation
Speaker Nabih Berri has snapped back at the March 14 alliance without naming it, saying the new government would not be formed without Hizbullah's participation in it.
In remarks to al-Joumhouria newspaper published Friday, Berri said it was impossible to form the government without having Hizbullah representatives in it.
The speaker's remarks were an indirect response to calls by some officials in the March 14 alliance to keep the party away from the cabinet line-up.
Al-Joumhouria said that Berri also “mocked” remarks made by March 14 lawmakers on his announcement that the March 8 coalition of Hizbullah, his Amal movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, no longer existed.
Officials, who visited Berri on Thursday, told the newspaper that the speaker held onto his stance of the end of the alliance on “domestic issues.”
The speaker told several local dailies this week that he agreed with FPM chief Michel Aoun on strategic issues such as the resistance but not on local affairs.
Differences between the FPM on one hand and Hizbullah and Amal began emerging late May over the extension of parliament’s term, which Aoun opposed, and more recently over the extension of Army chief Gen. Jean Qahwaji's mandate.
But al-Akhbar daily said Friday that Hizbullah officials contacted Aoun to confirm that Berri's statement on March 8 is only linked to the negotiations on the shares of the alliance's different members in the new cabinet.
The officials stressed to Aoun that Hizbullah was committed to having a united stance with Amal and the FPM in the decision on whether to participate or not in the government.
The report confirmed rumors that the alliance's members would back Aoun if he didn't get the shares he is asking for.
Sources close to Premier-designate Tammam Salam told al-Joumhouria that both Hizbullah and Amal would stand in solidarity with Aoun if he wasn't represented in the cabinet in accordance with his parliamentary weight.
This means that March 8 parties would still enjoy veto power, which Salam rejects, the sources said.
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