BEIRUT: Division Of Cabinet Portfolios Among Political Parties


July 30 2009

Although the process of allocation of cabinet portfolios is in its
early stages, it is now clear that the president’s share will include
Elias Murr as defense minister, Interior Minister Ziad Baroud and
Adnan al-Sayyed Hussein who will get the Shiite seat.

A Sunni minister from the president’s share and a fifth Catholic
remain to be chosen.

Sources following up cabinet formation told al-Mustaqbal daily that
Hussein’s nomination was made because the man is a respectable academic
who has previously worked with President Michel Suleiman in preparing
defense strategy and national dialogue files.

In terms of wrangling over cabinet portfolios, As Safir newspaper said
PM-designate Saad Hariri is seeking to give his Mustaqbal movement
the telecommunications ministry currently held by Jebran Bassil.

Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun has made it clear
that he won’t relinquish Bassil. MP Walid Jumblat is also asking for
the public works ministry which the Lebanese Forces is eying.

Meanwhile, the LF and Phalange are asking for two ministers each
although there is a tendency by Hariri to give both of them three
ministers only.

Aoun is holding onto naming two Maronite ministers and one Catholic,
which means that Suleiman Franjieh, who wants the health ministry,
has to name an Orthodox minister. The Tashnag, in its turn, would
choose the Armenian minister.

LF MP Antoine Zahra told As Safir that his party wants one normal
and another services portfolio.