The Christian Equation in the Cabinet Crisis

While I continue to maintain that the current cabinet crisis is due to the telecommunication ministry, I have not explained the other major factor holding up the formation of a cabinet and explains Sfeir’s intervention: the battle within the Christian community.

A Lebanese friend of mine pointed out the obvious that Sfeir’s intervention was because the March 14 Christians, who Sfier openly supports, are very concerned that they will be given the short end of the deal with March 8 and Aoun in any deal to end the cabinet crisis. The same old issue of Geagea and Gemayel wanting important cabinet positions to represent the fact that they are the strong men of the Christians. Also of course because they feel as part of the winning coalition of March 14 that won the elections they deserve more prominent positions in the cabinet than Aoun. This was articulated when Gemayel was angered by the first cabinet that Hariri proposed, which would have given Kataeb the tourism ministry. This it was believed was not a “significant” ministry. Aoun of course wants the telecommunication ministry for his allies, i.e. Hezbollah, and the interior or justice ministry to show that he is worthy of being the Christian strong man. The FPM claim that they represent half of the Christians (which is more or less right) and have more parliamentary seats to show for it than Kataeb or the Lebanese Forces.

The battle for monopoly of representation among the Christians continues and has no doubt added to the delay. But I think the Christians are disenfranchising themselves rather than prolonging the crisis. If it is in the interests of everyone else to form a cabinet then the Christian leaders would be dragged along kicking and screaming.


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