Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas’ resignation came as a surprise to Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, who was hoping that he would sign the decision taken by the cabinet over the transportation allowance decree.
Nahhas “refuses the compromises” made by Aoun’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, his sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper on Wednesday.
The sources said that Aoun reiterated constantly that he supports Nahhas, but at some point his stance changed after he agreed with Speaker Nabih Berri and Hizbullah to resolve the cabinet crisis by “agreeing on a deal” to safeguard the government.
The cabinet went in a crisis on Feb. 1 after Prime Minister Najib Miqati accused ministers loyal to Aoun of obstructing the government’s work. He along with President Michel Suleiman stressed that Nahhas should sign the decree before calling on the cabinet to convene again.
“Nahhas took the decision according to his convictions,” the labor minister’s sources told al-Joumhouria.
As Safir newspaper said Nahhas considered that Suleiman, Miqati, Berri and even Aoun formed an alliance against him to force him to sign the transportation decree which he argues is “illegal.”
However, Aoun is mulling his decision over sending Nahhas’ resignation to Miqati, which was considered as a maneuver by the FPM leader until he find out the fate of a draft law proposed by Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan during a parliamentary session Wednesday.
According to al-liwaa newspaper, FPM sources revealed that Nahhas’ resignation will be sent to the premiership before the legislature convenes at 11:00 a.m.
MPs will discuss two urgent draft laws suggested separately by Kanaan and al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Nabil de Freij in an attempt to “legalize” the transportation and education allowances decree.
Reports on Monday said that Berri had agreed with Kanaan on a solution to the crisis whereby Nahhas should sign the transportation allowance decree and refer it to the Shura Council to decide on its legality.
An Nahar newspaper said that if Aoun submits Nahhas’ resignation to Miqati, the solution might be in adding acting Labor Minister Nicolas Fattoush’s signature to the transportation allowance decree.
Al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that Miqati held a meeting with Aoun on Tuesday on the sidelines of a dinner banquet hosted by Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui.
The two tackled Nahhas’ resignation and began mulling the names of his successor, according to the daily.
The premier suspended the cabinet sessions on Feb. 1 until Nahhas signs the decree, saying he expects the ministers to boost their performance and abide by the government’s decision.
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