Finance Minister Mohammed al-Safadi is eyeing his candidacy to the premiership in case the cabinet collapses due to the sharp rift between the members of the government, the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat reported Monday.
Al-Safadi, who is loyal to Miqati, had joined Change and Reform bloc Minister Jebran Bassil in opposing the premier’s approach to the electricity crisis.
According to ministerial sources, al-Safadi has only voiced his support to Bassil, who is loyal to Free Patriotic Movement MP Michel Aoun, to ensure his candidacy to the premiership.
The sources said that Miqati will not exchange accusations with anyone, saying that the campaign against him is baseless as he had to suggest an alternative plan due to the sharp differences between the members of the committee tasked with finding a solution to the electricity plan.
“Miqati was forced to interfere and suggest setting new power plants, which would cost less than leasing the power-generating vessels,” the sources added.
Miqati argues that building a power plant that would generate 500 Megawatts of electricity would cost the treasury less than a proposal made by Bassil to lease the power vessels.
The daily said some parties affiliated in the March 8 forces threatened to withdraw from the cabinet, however, Miqati will not change his stances and will hold onto his convictions as he doesn’t mind appointing another premier.
The sources told the newspaper that the PM and his ally at the cabinet State Minister Ahmed Karami support al-Safadi’s candidacy to the premiership.
The premier said in a report that the establishment of the power plant takes a year and would cost maximum 480 million dollars for at least a 25-year service, while Bassil’s proposal suggests that the two companies that won the tenders would cost the state around $1 billion for a period of five years without the expenses of the fuel oil.
Bassil and al-Safadi also allege that Miqati reduced the role of the ministerial committee that according to them could have reached a decision to resolve the issue.
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