Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest - July 4, 2012

Lebanon's Arabic press digest.

Following are summaries of some of the main stories in a selection of Lebanese newspapers Wednesday. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.


"Intifada" by Aoun: improving conditions or ending the partnership?

The law to employ contract workers at Electricite Du Liban changed the game on the local scene and redrew borders and alliances prompting some to say that the parliamentary meeting had brought back the famous "Quartet alliance" of the Future Movement, Hezbollah, Amal and the Progressive Socialist Party supporting the law while Christian blocs stood against the proposal.

[MP] Gen. Michel Aoun hinted that what happened could be the start of new political changes which reflect accumulated tensions and makes way for questions regarding the fate of the Shiite alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement.

Some think that Aoun has started to feel that the costs he has had to bear as a result of the alliance outweigh the gains.

While Aoun was advised not to take it too far, he reiterated the need for the resistance party.

Some majority sources said it was advisable not to overanalyze Aoun's position and that the situation would be contained.

Hezbollah seemed to be the most embarrassed by the development given that the party was the one that tried to keep pace with Aoun without abandoning its principles on the issue of contract workers.

Energy Minister Gebran Bassil told OTV in an interview aired Tuesday that Hezbollah was responsible for what happened during the parliamentary session because it’s MPs remained silent with regard to what has been happening.


Christian consensus to reject "marginalization in jobs"

In a legal step within constitutional institutions, away from blocking roads, the burning of tires and protesting, the Christians came together despite their differences to reject their marginalization in the public sector and voiced their dismay via Parliament.

The legislative session did not take place, nor did the Cabinet session that was also scheduled Wednesday due to loss of quorum.

It is expected that President Michel Sleiman will reject the contract workers bill despite Parliament's approval in order not to create a sectarian-political gap in the country.

While Hezbollah remained silent in this regard, it is worth noting the attack by Minister Gebran Bassil against [Hezbollah] via OTV in which he warned against corruption within the ranks of Hezbollah and said: "It is not enough for our allies to stand and watch but have to help us pass projects for the better of citizens."

"We were attacked because of our memorandum of understanding," he said.

"They said we lost much of our popularity, history but we resisted against Israel and the U.S. And so here comes this issue to stand in the face of the alliance?"


"Employing contract workers" disrupts government and threatens to break alliances

A political storm that struck Parliament has also reached Baabda Palace. The draft law to employ contract workers stunned the Cabinet after ministers with the Change and Reform bloc decided to boycott the session in tandem with their decision to boycott the legislative session in which the law was endorsed.

It is the first government shake-up of such a magnitude which comes at a time when the government decided to reactivate its work and save the Cabinet.

The Cabinet session was scheduled in the afternoon to continue discussions on the 2012 state budget.

Quorum was lost when Minister Alaaeddine Terro was registered as absent due to travel arrangements.

Al-Joumhouria obtained information indicating that Sleiman will talk about what happened Wednesday in front of a delegation from the Editor's Union.

Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi said before entering the Cabinet session that the "budget will not be discussed in the absence of the Change and Reform [bloc] ministers."

He told Al-Joumhouria that "the amendments requested by the prime minister and some ministers will be discussed on the basis that any spending should be met with income."


The majority witnesses a shake-up; Aoun "cannot digest” Berri; Bassil attacks Hezbollah

Consequences of approving the law in Parliament dealing with the employment of contract workers at Electricite Du Liban created an unprecedented crisis between allies and sent shockwaves to the Cabinet.

The session was abandoned after Free Patriotic Movement ministers boycotted the session after MP Michel Aoun "could not digest the wrong decisions that no one can enforce on us."

Minister Gebran Bassil attacked Hezbollah Tuesday night and said the party was responsible for what happened in Parliament.

However, what happened in Cabinet and Parliament did not divert attention away from the decision by Investigative Judge Ghassan Awaydat to release Wissam Alaaeddine , one of the attackers against Al-Jadeed TV.

A judicial source told Al-Mustaqbal that the decision was not legal and unprecedented because it dealt with what occurred as a misdemeanor and not as a felony.

Meanwhile, Al-Mustaqbal found out that Prime Minister Najib Mikati phoned Bassil to inquire whether Change and Reform bloc ministers would attend the session, Bassil responded firmly: "We will not attend neither today's session, nor tomorrow’s."





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