Lebanon stands a strong chance of welcoming a new government in the upcoming hours, after a year without one.
The proposed government would reduce in part the influence of the Iran-backed militia group Hezbollah, although that organisation would have five seats in the cabinet. It’s not clear whether this would be acceptable to the international donors who are holding back billions of dollars worth of aid for the country until a government they feel is trustworthy can take over.
A draft of the proposed government has been leaked to the local Lebanese newspaper Annahar. This includes proposed choices for ministers by the Prime Minister-Designate Najib Mkati, the billionaire businessman turned politician.
“We are only a few steps away from a new government. There is only one last knot to undo” a source that wished to remain anonymous told Cyprus Mail.
Mikati who is the third person picked to try to form a government in the past year, is set to meet the Lebanese president Michel Aoun in the upcoming hours. In their 14th meeting to discuss the formation of government, the two men are expected to release ‘the white smoke’ after finalising the details of the new government.
“If the meeting does not happen today it is bound to happen this week. Many political parties have given the green light for the new government to be formed by the end of this week” the source told the Cyprus Mail.
The draft published by the Lebanese daily exhibits a cabinet of 24 ministers in which the Hezbollah and its ally the “Amal” party are supposed to have 5 ministers. While the Lebanese president has 10 ministers, 4 ministers will be affiliated to the prime minister and the “future” movement ( the party of the last prime minister-designate Saad Hariri). The remaining ministers are divided into the progressive socialist party and “Al Marada”.
The draft specifies that one of Mikati’s ministers will be in charge of the ministry of the interior which will in charge of organising the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country that are supposed to happen next spring.
“There is a real chance that a new government will see the light …if nothing happens at the last minute,” says the source to CM.
All of this comes hours after a US congressional delegation had visited Lebanon on Wednesday voicing hope that a government would be formed this week to start addressing the financial meltdown in Lebanon.