BEIRUT — President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati met Wednesday in Baabda to discuss the Cabinet formation, a mission that has been dragging on for months, with Mikati reportedly citing “close points of view” between the two men.
Here’s what we know:
• The task of forming a government, which is often considered the most tedious in Lebanon as it continuously faces delays, has stretched out since late June as a compromise has not been established yet. The last government formation in Lebanon ended a 13-month deadlock.
• According to a Twitter post from the presidency’s Twitter account, Aoun and Mikati met Wednesday morning to examine Mikati’s proposed Cabinet formation, with Mikati saying the discussion was “to be continued.”
• Mikati on June 29 submitted to Aoun “the version of the government that seems suitable” to him, a spokesperson for the PM-designate told L’Orient Today at the time. A source at Baabda Presidential Palace also told L’Orient Today that the proposed Cabinet is made up of 24 ministers and that it includes names from the old Cabinet as well as new names.
• The leaked list would renew the terms of most current caretaker ministers with the exception of caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad, caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, caretaker Minister for the Displaced Issam Charafeddine and caretaker Economy Minister Amin Salam. Mikati has since stuck to the list, although Aoun has suggested a different lineup.
• Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement issued a statement earlier this month accusing Mikati of delaying Cabinet formation and of accumulating wealth through corruption. Mikati's office responded by saying Aoun's party was out of touch with reality in Lebanon.