Speaker Nabih Berri adjourned to Thursday a parliamentary session set to discuss several draft laws, a day after Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas submitted his resignation to Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun for refusing to sign the controversial transportation allowance decree.
While parliament discussed several issues during its Wednesday session, it did not tackle the two main draft laws that would determine the fate of the transportation allowance.
Berri refused to comment on Nahhas’ resignation, which hasn’t been yet submitted to Premier Najib Miqati, telling An Nahar daily about the draft-laws, which authorize the cabinet to set the transportation allowance, that “there is still time” to decide on them.
One draft has been proposed by Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan and the other by opposition al-Mustaqbal lawmaker Nabil de Freij. Reports have said that Aoun has reached an agreement with Berri and Miqati to garner a parliamentary majority to approve Kanaan’s draft law.
The speaker held a short meeting with Miqati ahead of Wednesday’s session. He later held talks with Kanaan.
At the end of the parliament session, the speaker held a closed-door meeting with Kanaan and Energy Minister Jebran Bassil.
Berri did not confirm the alleged deal, hailing Aoun’s announcement after the Change and Reform bloc meeting on Tuesday “that he will send the resignation to the cabinet” although the FPM chief said that he will make this move whenever he wants.
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat sent a letter to Berri informing him that he would support him in any decision he takes, An Nahar said although it stressed that Jumblat will not attend the parliamentary session.
The daily quoted him as saying that despite his differences with Hizbullah and the FPM, the PSP along with the two parties and ministers loyal to President Michel Suleiman, Berri and Miqati constitute the diverse governmental coalition.
The differences “will not reflect on the work of the government, its future and ties between its members,” he told An Nahar.
The daily also said that contacts were underway between Berri, Miqati and Jumblat to guarantee a parliamentary majority for Kanaan’s draft law.
But reports said that the two draft laws could be withdrawn from the session’s agenda and an agreement could be reached to hold a cabinet session to draft another decree as part of the authorities granted by the legislature to the government.
Such a move would help revive cabinet sessions that were suspended by Miqati on Feb. 1 over Nahhas’ refusal to sign the transportation allowance decree and accusations by the PM that ministers loyal to Aoun are obstructing the government’s work.
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