Lebanon Businessnews News

Transportation decree signed
With his resignation now official Nahas slams political class and calls for a demonstration in front of Parliament
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The acting Minister of Labor Nicolas Fattouche announced on Thursday (February 23) that he has signed the transportation allowances decree.

Fattouche said that he signed the decree after Prime Minister Najib Mikati informed him that the resignation of Charbel Nahas, the former Minister of Labor, is now official.

Nahas' resignation was delivered Wednesday night (February 22) by his former colleague in the Change and Reform bloc, Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil.

After consulting with President Michel Suleiman, and less than 30 minutes after receiving the resignation from Bassil, the Prime Minister announced that Nahas’ resignation has been accepted. Mikati said that now Nahas has resigned, the Cabinet will resume its normal conduct.

Nahas’ resignation is expected to end a two-week Cabinet crisis that began with his refusal to sign a decree on transportation allowances. Parliament is scheduled to vote in on Thursday one of two draft laws on transport subsidies.

The first, submitted by opposition 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 on transportation fees.

Shortly before his resignation became official, Nahas submitted to the Cabinet a draft law redefining wages and social benefits, and addressing the Cabinet decrees that have been issued yearly since 1995 and repeated contested by the Shura Council.

In a conversation with visitors, Nahas was quoted as saying that the transportation allowances decree he was asked to sign was concocted through a deal between “a group of merchants, ready to buy and sell, and a group of unionists ready to be bought and sold.” Nahas was indirectly referring to the agreement signed last January between the General Confederation of Labor Unions and the private sector economic associations.

The ex-minister called for a public demonstration on Thursday (February 23) in front of Parliament. “The issue of transportation…is not a simple one. It is an issue involving young people who will either be forced to emigrate or be domesticated,” he said.

“No one can scare us, as they are all a pile of cardboard,” he said.

“We have high hopes to pierce through all the political groupings. This country will not be ruled by merchants,” he said.

Date Posted: Feb 23, 2012
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