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Lebanon News

Arslan’s resignation from Cabinet ‘final’: party official

BEIRUT: State Minister Talal Arslan’s resignation from Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s newly formed government is “final,” a senior official in Arslan’s Lebanese Democratic Party said Monday.

“Revoking his resignation is out of the question,” the party’s secretary general Walid Barakat told The Daily Star.

Barakat also said LDP politburo member Marwan Kheireddine, Arslan’s brother-in-law, will replace Arslan as minister of state. “This is the party’s latest decision.”

Arslan resigned just hours after Mikati’s Cabinet was announced last Monday, though he has yet to submit his resignation in writing.

Arslan had said that his resignation was an expression of dissatisfaction over not being chosen defense minister, as he had requested.

Barakat said the issue of submitting a resignation request in writing was “being dealt with.”

Arslan, nevertheless, was still determined to deny the new government his vote of confidence, a gesture of protest against what he says is the unjust representation of the Druze community in the Cabinet.

But he expressed regret for lashing out at Mikati in what he described as a “moment of anger.”

“I want to express on this occasion my regret for my angry statement at the last news conference when my remarks surpassed political [criticism] of the prime minister and became personal. This is a mistake that goes against our traditions, which have always united rather than divided the Lebanese,” Arslan said Sunday.

Arslan had accused Mikati of “lying and piracy” during the talks on the Cabinet’s formation.

“It is no honor for me to sit by his side in this government after Mikati spent five months lying,” Arslan said in a news conference hours after the government’s formation.

Baalbek-Hermel MP Assem Qanso, a member of the Baath Party parliamentary bloc, has also said he would not give the new government a vote of confidence.

Qanso protested the non-representation of the Baath Party, just like the Syrian Social Nationalist Party, in the new government.

State Minister Nicolas Fattoush was also reportedly on the voting sidelines. No details were given, however.

 

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