Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun slammed on Tuesday the National Struggle Front’s boycott of Monday’s parliamentary session, accusing its leader MP Walid Jumblat of only seeking to ensure his own interests.
He said after the Change and Reform bloc’s weekly meeting: “It seems that the MP was never part of the parliamentary majority.”
The National Struggle Front decided to adopt a negative position, which it did not justify, explained the FPM leader.
Asked if the March 8 camp still retains the parliamentary majority, Aoun responded: “We will see if we have the majority if Jumblat resigns from government.”
On Monday, March 14 and National Struggle Front MPs boycotted a parliamentary session that was aimed at tackling the dispute over government extra-budgetary spending.
Jumblat told As Safir newspaper Monday that his bloc’s decision to boycott lies in its insistence on finding a political solution to the dispute.
“This doesn’t mean that we are no longer part of the ruling majority,” he said about the March 8 forces.
Addressing the government spending dispute, Aoun remarked: “The case should be tackled by the Finance Ministry and in turn referred to the cabinet, which then hands it over the parliamentary finance committee before sending it to parliament.”
A copy of the final report should also be passed over to the Audit Bureau, he added.
He reiterated his demand that the account records of the governments of former Prime Ministers Fouad Saniora and Saad Hariri be revealed and handed over to the Audit Bureau.
“They have so far failed to do so,” said the FPM leader.
Aoun stressed that he will not accept any settlement in the case of government spending, saying that he will abide by the constitution to resolve the dispute.
“We will not accept any resolution that is not legal,” he stated.
The March 14 opposition and mainly al-Mustaqbal bloc MPs are protesting the March 8 camp’s proposal of a bill that would legalize the $5.9 billion spending made by Premier Najib Miqati’s cabinet in 2011.
The lawmakers are conditioning the approval of the bill to a comprehensive settlement to the current spending and the $11 billion spent by the Saniora and Hariri governments.
Lebanon has been without a state budget since 2005.
The March 8 forces, mainly the Change and Reform bloc, are demanding records on how the $11 billion was spent.
However, Saniora, who heads al-Mustaqbal bloc, stresses the spending was made to cover the expenses of increase in wages of civil servants, subsidize electricite du Liban and pay the interest on the national debt and compensations to the victims of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon in 2006.
He said that the total of additional spending between 2006 and 2009 amounted to $11 billion. While the 2010 spending totaled $5 billion, and the amount spent in 2011 totaled $6 billion.
Saniora’s effort to sum them up is aimed at pushing parliament at finding a comprehensive solution to the extra-budgetary spending.
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