The negotiations to form a new Lebanese government could know, Wednesday, September 16, their outcome with a scheduled meeting between the Prime Minister designate Moustapha Adib and President Michel Aoun. 

Visiting Lebanon on September 1, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had obtained the agreement of the various political camps to form a government within a period of two weeks, in a country shaken by the double explosion in Beirut, which occurred on August 4 .

Despite the promises of the parties, accustomed to endless bargaining to form a government, no progress has yet been recorded this week, while France reiterated its call for "the rapid formation of a mission government that can implement the reforms essential to the recovery of the country ".

The Shiite tandem blocks the process

In an article published Wednesday, the French-language daily L'Orient-Le Jour believes that "the face of the new government should finally be known, if not announced, the only alternative to this announcement being the challenge of the Prime Minister-designate".

An alternative that would sound like a failure for French mediation.

According to local media, the formation of the cabinet would stumble on the allocation of the finance portfolio, the Shiite tandem composed of Hezbollah and its ally the Amal party claiming "a Shiite personality" for this key post which has been attributed to him since 2014 and a right of scrutiny over the appointment of ministers from their community.

For his part, the Sunni Prime Minister would however be determined, according to several local sources, to question the historical sharing of ministerial portfolios on a confessional basis, while Hezbollah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Current (CPL), the formation of the President Aoun, hold the majority in Parliament.

The Élysée tries to remove the obstacle

"Paris to the test: consensus or political explosion", headlined the daily Al-Akhbar, pro-Hezbollah on Monday, indicating that "the Shiite tandem" Amal-Hezbollah "will not accept a government of fait accompli". 

Emmanuel Macron, very invested in Lebanon since the explosion of August 4, spoke on Saturday by telephone with the president of the Lebanese parliament and leader of the Amal Nabih Berri party in order to try to remove the obstacle of the finance portfolio. 

Nabih Berri said his party disagreed with the Prime Minister's method of forming the government and did not want to enter it under these conditions.

On the other hand, he said he was always ready to cooperate in order to restore the stability of the country.

According to several Lebanese media, the decision taken last week by the US administration to sanction allies of Hezbollah, considered a "terrorist" organization by Washington, has prompted the Shiite tandem to be less conciliatory during the negotiations aimed at forming a government. 

Multi-billion dollar international aid was pledged to the Cedar Country in 2018, but these funds remain blocked pending a credible structural reform plan. 

A "roadmap" set by France includes a series of measures aimed at combating endemic corruption in the country and restoring the economic situation in Lebanon, which notably involves restructuring the financial sector, while the course of the pound is in free fall, plunging many Lebanese below the poverty line. 

With AFP and Reuters 

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