TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -Berri told Lebanon's Arabic-language daily newspaper al-Joumhouria that he has notified all the concerned parties that the six independent Sunni lawmakers, who were insisting on being represented in the next government, will not give up on their demand, and that he and Hezbollah resistance movement will also stand firm in support of them.
The Lebanese parliament speaker also noted that it seemed that Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri will not back down on his refusal to cede a Cabinet seat to one of these legislators.
“Therefore, President Michel Aoun may be the most able to take the initiative towards solving the Sunni knot… I invite the president and prime minister-designate to resolve it by choosing one of the six MPs as a minister, as we do not have the luxury of waiting,” Berri pointed out.
When asked why he would not give up a seat from his own share to the Sunni lawmakers, Berri said he and Hezbollah have already conceded enough by accepting six ministers in the upcoming Cabinet.
“We [the Amal Movement and Hezbollah] form the largest parliamentary bloc, as the Development and Liberation bloc and Loyalty to the Resistance bloc have 30 MPs in total. However, I agreed with [Hezbollah Secretary-General] Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to facilitate the government formation. And now, others should show leniency in dealing with the right of the [six Sunni MPs] to have a minister,” Berri said.
Aoun said on November 10 that he would do his best to find a solution to the political stalemate that is blocking the formation of a new Lebanese unity government.
“The matter requires bravery and patience to reach the end, but we will find the solution because waiting is a waste of time,” Aoun said.
Aoun further noted that no effort would be spared to settle the problem.
Also on Tuesday, Caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said that he and Berri had discussed “for the first time” practical solutions to the government formation impasse.
“For the first time, I discussed practical ideas, and there are a lot of ideas. I discussed three ideas with Speaker Berri, but what is important is agreeing on the principles, then we can discuss all the ideas,” Bassil said in a televised conference after the meeting.
Bassil said the solution to the government formation deadlock “must have justice,” as the next Cabinet needs to be "productive" and "widely accepted."
“We cannot form a government by imposing or rejecting [conditions],” Bassil said.
Lebanon's first parliamentary vote in nine years was held on May 6, with over 500 candidates vying for seats. Turnout was 49.2 percent, according to officials.
According to official results, Hezbollah and its political allies secured over half the seats.
Hezbollah as well as groups and individuals affiliated to it won at least 67 seats in Lebanon’s parliament, according to the results cited by politicians and campaigns and reported in Lebanese media.
Hezbollah's allies include the Amal Movement led by Berri and the Christian Free Patriotic Movement founded by Aoun.
The parliamentary seats are split evenly -- 64 for Christians and 64 for Muslims, including Druze, with the two halves further divided among 11 religious groups.
Hariri has called on political parties to “show modesty” in their demands regarding the new government, emphasizing that he is not responsible for the serious delay.
“They are blaming me for the delay whereas each party is clinging to its stances and demands,” he told reporters on August 7 ahead of a meeting for the Future Movement’s parliamentary bloc.
“Everyone must display modesty and sacrifice for the sake of the country,” Hariri said.
Political rivalry led to years of governmental paralysis in Lebanon, and the country did not produce a state budget from 2005 until last year.
The International Monetary Fund has said that Lebanon must urgently address its fiscal policy in order to sustain its high levels of public debt.