The latest virtual dispute between President Michel Suleiman and Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Michel Aoun was the result of growing differences on the appointments of civil servants and the pressure exerted on the president to sign a $5.9 billion extra-budgetary spending bill, an informed source said.
Suleiman and Aoun accused each other of being political beggars after the FPM leader rejected a consensual president and said on his party’s Facebook page that the future president should lead a parliamentary bloc rather than beg at the door of some ministers.
But the head of state snapped back on Twitter, saying a consensual president does not beg for the presidency and on the contrary, everyone asks him to accept the post of president.
The dispute was the culmination of several unresolved differences between the two men.
Among them was a mediation effort launched by Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi last month to find a solution to the appointment of civil servants and mainly the head of the Higher Judicial Council.
A meeting held between al-Rahi , Suleiman and Aoun at Baabda palace ended up with more tension between the two men after the FPM chief stressed that he won’t make any compromises following the decision of ex-Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, who was loyal to him, to resign over his rejection to sign the transportation and education allowances bill, the informed source told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Monday.
Each continued to hold onto his own candidate for the post of the head of the HJC.
Another growing difference began to appear earlier this month when Aoun said Suleiman should resort to article 58 of the constitution to sign the $5.9 billion bill to allow the cabinet to spend legally.
The article allows him to issue a bill deemed urgent by the government after the failure of the legislature to approve it.
Suleiman stressed to the cabinet last week that he won’t sign the bill for including violations, but the ministers of the FPM, Amal and Hizbullah argued that the government shouldn’t continue to spend through illegal means.
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