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CABINET PARALYSIS

Bassil says Hezbollah is 'primary reason' for government paralysis


Bassil says Hezbollah is 'primary reason' for government paralysis

Aoun and Bassil met Tuesday in Baabda. (Credit: @LBpresidency)

BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement head Gebran Bassil on Wednesday accused Hezbollah of being the “primary reason” the government has not met for three months.

Here’s what we know:

    • The government has not met since Oct. 12 after that day’s session was adjourned over disagreement between cabinet members on the role of the port blast probe head Judge Tarek Bitar. While Hezbollah and the Amal Movement criticize Bitar’s leadership of the probe, President Michel Aoun and Premier Najib Mikati have thus far refused to remove the judge from his role, saying they don’t want to interfere in the work of the judiciary.

    • Speaking after meeting Aoun at the Presidential Palace, Bassil said that although Hezbollah holds the primary responsibility for obstructing government meetings, the Shiite duo — i.e., Amal alongside Hezbollah — also bears some responsibility as does Mikati, “who doesn’t schedule [government meetings].” “I prefer no government to a government that does not work,” Bassil added.

    • Bassil’s party and Hezbollah have been allies since they signed the Mar Mikhael agreement in 2006; however, in recent months, tensions have risen between the parties. At the beginning of the year, Bassil remarked that he doesn’t want to tear up the Mar Mikhael agreement, but that it needs “to be improved.”

    • On Dec. 27, Aoun called for an “urgent national dialogue” to address three issues: expanded administrative and financial decentralization, a defense strategy to protect Lebanon and a financial and economic recovery plan that includes essential reforms and the equitable distribution of financial sector losses.

   • Bassil, who is Aoun’s son-in-law as well as the leader of the political party Aoun founded,, on the second day of consultations in which Aoun is advocating for a national dialogue among parties said, “We are in favor of holding a dialogue with the personalities who will attend, and let those who boycott it be responsible for their actions.”

   • Responding to Future Movement head Saad Hariri’s comments that the national dialogue called by Aoun should take place after the upcoming parliamentary elections, Bassil said,“Despite the results of the elections, the three issues suggested will not be solved except with a dialogue and we will lose time [if we wait] until the election date comes.” The parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 15. 


BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement head Gebran Bassil on Wednesday accused Hezbollah of being the “primary reason” the government has not met for three months. Here’s what we know:    • The government has not met since Oct. 12 after that day’s session was adjourned over disagreement between cabinet members on the role of the port blast probe head Judge Tarek Bitar. While...