Harb from Maarab: Institutions Can't Continue Functioning as if There's No Problem in Countryإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Telecom Minister and presidential hopeful Butros Harb announced Tuesday that state institutions cannot continue functioning amid the current presidential vacuum, following talks with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab.
“The March 14 forces have taken a unified decision and said that state institutions cannot continue their work in the absence of a president as if there is no problem in the country,” Harb said after the meeting.
The country was plunged into a presidential vacuum on May 25 after parliament failed to elect a successor to president Michel Suleiman despite having held five electoral sessions. The March 14 forces on Tuesday boycotted a parliamentary session dedicated to discussing the new wage scale but said they are willing to attend when a final agreement is reached.
Harb warned that any attempt to “paralyze institutions with the aim of imposing a certain political equation will not go without resistance.”
“Whoever wants the country to function properly must head to parliament, confront there and abide by the rules of presidential election, and therefore they must accept its result,” the minister added, noting that “any other behavior would harm democracy and political balance in Lebanon.”
And as Harb expressed his appreciation and support of the syndicates' social demands, he stressed that the March 14 forces do not want to attend parliamentary sessions in this regard for mere debate.
The minister revealed that “all parties are preparing a study under the sponsorship of Speaker Nabih Berri” regarding the controversial new wage scale draft.
“When we reach an agreement over this issue that has to do with social security and domestic peace in the country, we will change our stance over the issue of legislation and head to parliament to fulfill the social demands of teachers, (public) employees and members of the armed forces,” Harb promised.
In an apparent jab at Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, the minister criticized “those who are saying 'either I become the president or I will obstruct the elections and put the blame on others.'”
“This is a rejected approach and we cannot tolerate it,” Harb underlined.
Asked whether the “obstruction” will spread to cabinet, the minister hoped the government's work will not be affected “because it has to do with people's daily affairs and we must not stand in the face of people's interests.”
“We're inclined to facilitate the country's interests and we will deal positively, according to the Constitution's rules and without introducing new norms,” Harb went on to say.
In response to another question, Harb again denied receiving any “serious” information about the death in Syria of Mahmoud Hayek, who was charged with a botched 2012 assassination attempt against him.