Information Minister Walid al-Daouq shrugged off rumors that the March 8 forces were pressuring Premier Najib Miqati into quitting, saying it was up to him to make such a decision.
“Let’s put things straight: The resignation is in the hands of the prime minister,” al-Daouq told An Nahar newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
“He’s the one who decides any (possible) resignation and its timing or a non-resignation,” the minister stressed.
The cabinet is locked in a dispute on a $5.9 billion extra-budgetary spending bill that should legalize the spending of the government for 2011.
The March 8 coalition – Hizbullah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement – that makes up the larger part of the cabinet is pressuring President Michel Suleiman into using his constitutional prerogatives by signing the bill.
But the president reiterated on several occasions that it was up to the government and the parliament to settle the issue because the draft-law included irregularities.
Al-Daouq announced his backing for Suleiman in his decision not to sign the bill, saying: “The country is divided on the bill and he is trying to take a constitutional stance.”
“He saw that it would be better for him not to use the right” given to him by article 58 of the constitution which allows him to issue a bill deemed urgent by the government after the failure of the legislature to approve it, the minister said.
Asked if it was right for a party within the government to pressure the president into signing a bill which he deems unconstitutional, al-Daouq said: “The president will not deviate from his stances.”
“He took his decision after a long study and consultations with experts,” he added.
But the minister expressed a “cautious optimism” on the cabinet crisis and said he is convinced that a solution to the spending would be found before a government session next Wednesday.
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