Hizbullah, AMAL, FPM Seek to Bridge Sharp Differences on EDL Employees Crisisإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The different stances of Hizbullah, AMAL and the Free Patriotic Movement on parliament’s approval of Electricite du Liban’s contract workers’ full-time employment have widened the gap between the tripartite alliance as contacts are ongoing to bridge the divide.
The clashing interests of the different components in the alliance are threatening as contacts are ongoing between the advisor of Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hussein Khalil, Speaker Nabih Berri’s advisor, Health Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and FPM minister Jebran Bassil who have exerted efforts to resolve the dispute, al-Liwaa newspaper reported on Thursday.
According to lawmakers, Berri refuses to resort to another voting at the parliament on the draft law.
“There are constitutional processes that we can adopt to resolve the issue,” the MPs quoted Berri as saying.
Sources told As Safir newspaper that the speaker realizes that if the vote at the parliament was by calling names, the draft law wouldn’t have passed.
On Monday, lawmakers approved a draft law proposed by the joint parliamentary committees, tasked with resolving the EDL contract workers’ crisis, to include all of them in a selection process for permanent employment by raising hands.
However, Berri decided to suspend the legislative session on Tuesday after Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc, the Phalange party, Lebanese Forces, Ashrafiyeh and Zahle MPs boycotted the session to protest the approval.
The Christian MPs argue that the permanent employment of the EDL workers would destabilize the sectarian balance at the state-run company as around 80 percent of them belong to non-Christian sects and most of them support Berri, who is a Shiite.
Sources close to FPM denied in comments published in As Safir that “electoral interests” are behind the firm stance taken by FPM leader MP Michel Aoun.
“Whoever is assuming this doesn’t really know Aoun and the way he thinks,” the sources noted.
Bassil, who is loyal to Aoun, has previously proposed to allow 700 contract workers to stand for an official exam, out of some 2,500 employees, while the rest would become employees at private companies under a three-month probation period as the company can’t contain all of the employees.
The Christian lawmakers are rather suggesting the introduction of new amendments to the draft law approved by the parliament on Monday.
Bassil accused the parliament on Wednesday of violating the protocol by not discussing his proposal and swiftly agreeing on the decision taken by the joint parliamentary committees.
Hizbullah meanwhile hasn’t taken any official stance; it seems to be appeasing both sides.
FPM expressed resentment at the party’s behavior, who is acting as a spectator regarding the campaigns by allies on the Change and Reform bloc.
“Hizbullah has rather been an accomplice in the recent attack on the FPM,” sources told As Safir.
The daily said that Hizbullah is waiting for its allies to “calm down” before stepping in to resolve the crisis.
Sources close to the party told al-Liwaa newspaper that the alliance will remain strong, lashing out at those who are betting on its collapse.
EDL contract workers have been holding an open-end strike for the past three months, vowing to continue their protest until the parliamentary decision is published in the official gazette.