Hezbollah and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri have disagreed over the representation of the Sunni opposition in parliament.
By Trista Youssef
Rabat- The Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah has insisted on representation of its Sunni allies in Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri’s cabinet. Hariri, a Sunni himself, has refused to include a Hezbollah-allied Sunni opposition member in his six-member Cabinet and threatened his political counterparts to “look for a person other than me to form a government.”
The recent disagreement reflects an ongoing power struggle within the Lebanese government. In the May 6 parliamentary elections, Hezbollah and its political allies won more than 70 of 128 seats.
The Lebanese government will delay its formation until internal agreement on sectarian representation is reached.
Early in October, Hariri told reporters, “I’m willing to give everyone seats from my share for the sake of the country.” However, recent demands from Hezbollah and its Sunni allies seem to have challenged the prime minister’s limits.
Mustafa Alloush, a leading figure in Prime Minister Hariri’s Sunni Future Movement, said he does not “understand the external reason why Hezbollah is obstructing the formation of the government in these regional circumstances.” Alloush stressed that Hariri “will not accept to give his ministerial quota to the Sunni opposition.”
Hezbollah’s growing influence poses a challenge for anti-Hezbollah political figures regarding parliamentary power and representation.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun addressed the demands of Hezbollah and its Sunni allies as problematic, stating: “This matter caused the delay, and this delay is a type of political tactic that is hurting our big strategy.”
Political division stunting Lebanon from forming a functioning government raises concerns for Lebanon’s highly-indebted economy. The country is in dire need of economic reform, as it holds the world’s third largest public debt proportional to its economic output.