By Riya Shartouni
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AA) – Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on Monday said he has rejected the president’s proposal for forming a government over the allocation of Cabinet seats.
The proposal by President Michel Aoun would give his Free Patriotic movement one-third of the Cabinet seats, said Hariri, saying this is based on sectarian and partisan lines and would give his movement veto power.
“Aoun’s message is unacceptable because the premier-designate is not supposed to fill in papers for anyone and it is not the work of the republic president to form the government," Hariri wrote on Twitter.
"Our Constitution clearly says the premier-designate forms the government and proposes names, then discusses them with his excellency the president," he added.
Hariri met on Monday with Aoun for the 18th time since Hariri was designated to form the government last October after Prime Minister Mustapha Adib stepped down amid political bickering that prevented a unity government from being established.
On Wednesday, in a televised speech, Aoun gave Hariri the option to either form a government or leave and pave the way for someone who can.
Hariri, for his part, responded by asking Aoun to approve his government formation or to call for early presidential elections.
Aoun was elected in October 2016 for a six-year period which ends in 2022.
Lebanon is facing a severe economic crisis and deterioration in living conditions, with the Lebanese pound losing nearly all its value against the US dollar, trading at over 14,000 to the dollar on Wednesday.
Streets across the country have been blocked by protests and rallies for the past month over the current situation, which is the worst for the Lebanese people since the civil war of 1975-1990.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara