Suleiman welcomes Nahas resignation
Aoun delays sending the resignation to ensure the passing of Kanaan’s bill on transportation allowances in Parliament
The resignation of the Minister of Labor Charbel Nahas has not yet cleared the way for the government impasse to be resolved. On Tuesday (February 21) Nahas handed his resignation to the leader of the Change and Reform bloc, MP Michel Aoun.
Aoun admitted that his Free Patriotic Movement has had an internal conflict with Nahas over the latter’s refusal to sign a Cabinet decree authorizing transportation allowances for employees. “No one can defy a decision made by the Change and Reform bloc,” Aoun said.
The resignation has not been officially submitted. It is being kept as a negotiating card in the hands of Aoun.
Two competing laws on transport subsidies have been submitted for debate and vote in Parliament during its next session on Thursday (February 23). The first, submitted by opposition and member of the Future bloc MP Nabil de Freij, is in line with the agreement between the economic associations and the General Confederation of Labor Unions.
The second draft law, submitted by Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan, is in line with Nahas’ stance. Aoun is keeping the resignation pending until the passing of Kanaan’s bill in Parliament is ensured.
President Michel Suleiman has welcomed Nahas’ resignation, describing it as “constitutional” and “a good step – provided it is not a maneuver.”
“In light of his refusal to sign the decree, Nahas had two choices: To be removed from office or to resign. He chose the latter,” said Suleiman.
The President said that in order to become effective, the resignation must be submitted to the Prime Minister to gain his approval. At that point, the acting Minister of Labor, Nicolas Fattouche, will be able to sign the contentious decree.
The office of Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that unless the resignation becomes official and the decree is signed, no Cabinet meeting will take place.
Aoun has said that the minister who will eventually replace Nahas will be from within the Free Patriotic Movement.
Date Posted: Feb 21, 2012