March 8 and 14 Take Anew Dispute on Spending to Parliamentإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
A proposal by three March 8 lawmakers to probe alleged spending violations made between 1993 and 2011 is aimed at taking the dispute with the March 14 opposition to new levels, highly informed parliamentary sources said Sunday.
The proposal was made on Saturday by Loyalty to the Resistance bloc MP Ali Fayyad, Development and Liberation bloc lawmaker Yassine Jaber and Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan to form a parliamentary investigative committee to “probe the violations of spending made since the beginning of 1993 until the end of 2011.”
The sources told An Nahar daily that this step is aimed at escalating the row that was sparked by the counter-accusations launched between the two sides during the latest three-day parliamentary session that assessed the performance of the March 8-led cabinet of Premier Najib Miqati.
During that session two March 14 MPs - George Adwan from the Lebanese Forces bloc and Phalange party’s Samer Saadeh – made requests to form parliamentary committees to investigate the issue of leasing of power-generating vessels and the general spending since 1990.
But the sources said that the Hizbullah, Amal and Change and Reform trio sought on Saturday to prevent the opposition from taking a unilateral action in accusing the March 8 forces of committing violations on the eve of the 2013 polls and to revive the growing financial dispute after the cabinet suffered from internal divisions on the $5.9 billion extra-budgetary spending bill of 2011.
The cabinet members argued during a session held on Wednesday whether President Michel Suleiman should sign the $5.9 billion bill after the parliament failed to approve it over conditions set by the opposition that it would vote for the bill only if the March 8 forces agree to settle the extra-budgetary spending made by the governments of ex-Premiers Fouad Saniora and Saad Hariri between 2006 and 2010.
The ministers loyal to Hizbullah, Amal and the Free Patriotic Movement exerted pressure on the president to use his constitutional authorities by resorting to 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.
But Suleiman and ministers loyal to Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat insisted that carrying out such an act is illegal and would be subjected to a challenge because the bill includes violations.
MP Jaber refuted the accusations of the parliamentary sources in remarks to An Nahar, saying his request to form the investigative committee stems from his statement to parliament during the three-day session.
So did Fayyad and Kanaan, he said.
Jaber stressed that the request does not aim at creating committees to counter the opposition. Instead it means there is consensus on the necessity to form this committee to inspect the spending violations made in previous years.