Charbel Nahhas
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Parliament Approves Transportation Allowance Decree

The parliament ended on Wednesday a prolonged debate on the transportation allowance by approving a draft-law based on the two proposals made by MPs Ibrahim Kanaan and Nabil de Freij.

The two lawmakers proposed separate draft-laws set to legalize the transportation allowance.

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Jreissati Meets Aoun: Change and Reform Can Be Achieved without Disputes

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun announced on Friday that newly-appointed Labor Minister Salim Jreissati had become the newest members of the Change and Reform bloc, reported the daily An Nahar on Saturday.

Jreissati meanwhile said that a mission to achieve change and reform “can be achieved without creating disputes.”

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Al-Mustaqbal Says Aoun Lost on 3 Fronts, Blames him for Adjournment of Legislative Session

The al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc stressed on Friday that Change and Reform bloc leader MP Michel Aoun lost on three fronts when the March 14 lawmakers withdrew from a parliamentary session the day before.

Al-Mustaqbal sources told An Nahar that Aoun lost Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, failed to win support for a $5.9 billion cabinet spending bill, and witnessed the removal of the Value Added Tax on red and green diesel, a move rejected by Energy Minister Jebran Bassil.

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Judge Salim Jreissati Succeeds Nahhas as Labor Minister

President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati signed on Friday a decree appointing Judge Salim Jreissati as the successor of former Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, the National News Agency reported.

Miqati and Suleiman signed the decree at the Baabda Palace, a day after Nahhas officially resigned.

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Acting Labor Minister, Suleiman Sign Transportation Decree

Acting Labor Minister Nicolas Fattoush and President Michel Suleiman signed on Thursday the transportation allowance decree, which was a point of contention between ex-minister Charbel Nahhas and Prime Minister Najib Miqati.

Fattoush said following talks with Miqati at the Grand Serail that the PM informed him about his approval of the resignation of Nahhas and stressed the importance of “boosting the cabinet’s work.”

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Nahhas’ Successor to be Chosen Swiftly

The resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas paved way for officials to avert a three-week cabinet crisis that had threatened the collapse of the government as the names of his successor were being speculated on Thursday.

“No candidate has been chosen yet, but it might happen in the upcoming few hours,” Free Patriotic Movement sources told An Nahar newspaper.

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Opposition-Majority Deal to Legalize Controversial Draft Laws

The official resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas on Wednesday was accompanied by signs of a political settlement reached between the top leaders that would witness a March 14 support for a draft law on the transportation allowance in return for a drop of March 8 majority demands to see records of billions of dollars spent by the governments of former Premiers Fouad Saniora and Saad Hariri.

President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Najib Miqati accepted the resignation of Nahhas who had been refusing to sign a transportation allowance decree linked with a wage hike made by the cabinet.

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Miqati Accepts Nahhas’ Resignation

Prime Minister Najib Miqati formally received from the “Change and Reform” bloc the resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas.

Miqati’s media office stated that “After consultations between the Prime Minister and the President, the resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas has been accepted.”

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Fate of Nahhas’ Resignation Unknown as Aoun Mulls Submitting it to Cabinet

Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas’ resignation came as a surprise to Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun, who was hoping that he would sign the decision taken by the cabinet over the transportation allowance decree.

Nahhas “refuses the compromises” made by Aoun’s Change and Reform parliamentary bloc, his sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper on Wednesday.

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Kanaan Says Majority Seeking Approval of his Draft Law as March 14 Rejects it

Change and Reform bloc MP Ibrahim Kanaan confirmed reports that the parliamentary majority forces were seeking to garner majority support for a draft-law proposed by him to authorize the cabinet to set the transportation allowance.

The draft-law “is a solution and guarantees the (continued) work of the cabinet, Kanaan told An Nahar daily published Wednesday despite reports that Speaker Nabih Berri could withdraw the draft-law and another one drafted by opposition al-Mustaqbal MP Nabil de Freij from the agenda of the session if the resignation of Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas was not sent to Premier Najib Miqati ahead of the session.

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