Energy Minister Jebran Bassil sought on Monday to minimize the importance of signing a decree on transportation allowances by Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, saying the issue will be resolved through parliament’s adoption of a draft law.
The issue will be resolved after parliament “approves a draft law proposed by MP Ibrahim Kanaan in agreement with the labor minister,” Bassil told An Nahar daily, saying “the signature of the transportation decree will remain a minor detail with regards to the importance of the law that will be issued next Wednesday.”
Nahhas is rejecting to sign a transportation decree approved by the cabinet amid Premier Najib Miqati’s insistence that a government crisis that erupted on Feb. 1 will not be resolved unless the labor minister signs it.
His sources have stressed that the government won’t accept any solution to the controversial transportation allowance that comes through parliament.
Parliament is scheduled on Wednesday to discuss two draft laws proposed by Kanaan and MP Nabil de Freij on the transportation allowance. It is not clear however if the two drafts will be merged.
Bassil stressed in his remarks to An Nahar that the reason behind the cabinet crisis that erupted after the suspension of sessions on Feb. 1 was Miqati’s insistence to name candidates for posts in state institutions reserved for Christians without consulting ministers loyal to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun.
He said the ministers would attend a session whenever Miqati invites them to do so.
The suspension of the sessions was a “constitutional violation and we hope it would stop,” he told An Nahar.
Meanwhile, pan-Arab daily al-Hayat said that Bassil is at loggerheads with Nahhas for behaving like a “super minister” in his insistence to reject signing the decree.
Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud has already criticized Nahhas on a controversial wage hike proposal he had made.
Al-Hayat said that the differences between the ministers are reflecting negatively on the meetings of Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc.
But a minister, who has friendly ties with both Nahhas and Bassil, is seeking to bring their viewpoints closer, the daily added.
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