Speaker Nabih Berri stressed that he hasn’t launched a new initiative to resolve the cabinet crisis but sources have said that he discussed with Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun ways to find a solution to the controversial transportation allowance that was at the origin of the government’s deadlock.
Berri hinted to As Safir daily on Saturday that he isn’t making any mediation between Aoun and Premier Najib Miqati, who suspended cabinet sessions on Feb. 1 after he bickered with ministers loyal to the FPM chief and accused them of hindering the government’s work.
A decree on the transportation and education allowances that Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, who is part of Aoun’s bloc, is refusing to sign is at the center of the deadlock.
Berri held talks with Aoun in Ain el-Tineh on Friday, two days after meeting with Miqati.
The speaker told An Nahar newspaper that the ball is in Aoun’s court, “similar to what I’ve told PM Miqati.”
Despite his rejection to mediate, the daily said that Berri and Aoun sought to find ways to resolve the dispute on the transportation and education allowances during a parliamentary session scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
FPM sources said members of Aoun’s Change and Reform have held a series of meetings and agreed to come up with a draft law in agreement with Nahhas for parliamentary approval.
The head of the parliamentary finance and budget committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, who is part of Aoun’s bloc, finalized the draft law on Saturday and submitted it to parliament’s general-secretariat.
A member of the opposition al-Mustaqbal bloc, MP Nabil de Freij, has already proposed another draft law on the allowances.
Berri could call for merging the two draft laws or lawmakers would approve one of them through majority voting.
Despite the proposed solution to resolve the crisis through the parliament, sources close to Miqati told An Nahar that he rejects to merge the two draft laws particularly that the proposal of the Change and Reform bloc hasn’t been studied by the cabinet.
Any approval of a draft law by parliament should not be connected to the signature of a transportation decree by Nahhas, they said.
Ministerial sources also told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat that there is no solution to the crisis but through Nahhas’ approval to sign the decree or paving way for an acting labor minister to do so.
They said Miqati has the support of President Michel Suleiman on his condition for Nahhas to sign the decree.
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