Dispute over interior ministry delays Lebanon's cabinet lineup

Published Friday, February 14, 2014

Updated 6:45 pm: A dispute between Hezbollah and the Future Movement over the Interior Ministry portfolio delayed the formation of Lebanon's next Cabinet on Friday.

The Future Movement announced its intention to name retired Internal Security Forces chief Ashraf Rifi for the position in the afternoon, which was immediately rejected by Hezbollah and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.

Earlier in the day, Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam was set to present his proposed cabinet lineup to the president, but the meeting was delayed once news of the dispute emerged.

It remains uncertain whether the ten-month government vacuum would end any time soon.

Friday also marked the ninth anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati resigned in March 2013 following disputes with political allies.

Lebanon has struggled since to come up with a consensus government likely to please both the March 8 and March 14 political coalitions.

Last month, a deal was struck that allocated the Cabinet along various political blocs. March 8 and March 14 political blocs were given eight seats respectively, while the president, prime minister, and MP Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party were allowed to name candidates for the rest of the ministries.

(Al-Akhbar)

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