BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Jreissati appointed new labor minister

  • Mohammad Ballout, right, Berri 's media adviser speaks with Prime Minister Najib Mikati, left, as he leaves the Parliament in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Retired Judge Salim Jreissati was appointed Friday as the new labor minister, replacing his predecessor Charbel Nahhas, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that Cabinet sessions would resume Monday.

Both President Michel Sleiman and Mikati signed the decree appointing Jreissati, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s candidate for the post, during a meeting at Baabda Palace in the morning.

In an interview with NBN TV, Jreissati said he respected Nahhas’ approach to doing things but that stability was crucial at the current stage.

“I will carry out changes in the ministry and will look at things with less severity than Nahhas, who [nevertheless] judged things based on constitutional standards and in a correct manner,” Jreissati told the local channel.

He also said that the Cabinet was now required to work harder and more harmoniously.

“I am not necessarily happy with the circumstances that have led to me becoming labor minister,” he added.

Jreissati, who hails from Zahleh, east Lebanon, is a legal expert and has held several leading advisory positions, including as a current advisor to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) team defending the four Hezbollah members implicated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He also recently served as an advisor in the drafting of the new Syrian constitution, which will be put to a referendum on Feb. 28.

In August 2011, just weeks after the STL issued its indictment against the four suspects, Jreissati took part in a conference organized by Hezbollah in which he delivered a presentation entitled “The Published Indictment: A Legal Study.” In the speech, Jreissati attacked the legitimacy of the court and pointed to what he described as “various gaps” in the indictment.

Meanwhile, Mikati said the government would resume its work next Monday but that its agenda would not include the thorny issue of administrative appointments.

As-Safir quoted the prime minister as saying the Cabinet session would be held at 9.30 a.m. Monday at Baabda Palace under the auspices of Sleiman.

Mikati said the session’s agenda would focus on issues that had accumulated over time, so that the Cabinet could facilitate the work of institutions and alleviate citizen's problems.

He also said that he would call for a further Cabinet session sometime next week.

Mikati suspended Cabinet sessions on Feb. 1 following a dispute with Change and Reform bloc ministers on administrative appointments as well as a dispute with Nahhas, of MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, who refused to sign a decree allowing the government to set transportation allowance fees.

Nahhas resigned this week as a result of the dispute.

Asked whether the thorny subject of administrative appointments would be on the Cabinet’s agenda Monday, Mikati said: “We are going through a friendly phase right now and I don’t want to start this new stage with recalcitrance.”

“There has been an opening with regards to the administrative appointments issue,” he added.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told The Daily Star Thursday he expected the Cabinet would meet soon, after more than three weeks of impasse.

“The Cabinet will reconvene very soon ... a new minister will be appointed most likely before the Cabinet convenes or shortly after,” he said.

Asked about his assessment of Thursday’s Parliament session, Mikati voiced satisfaction, saying the adjournment was beneficial as it would provide time for parties to reach an understanding on a number of issues.

Thursday’s Parliament session, which lasted over two hours, was adjourned by Berri after deep divisions surfaced between March 8 and March 14 over an urgent draft law forwarded by the Cabinet to Parliament to retroactively legalize the extra-budgetary spending of LL8.9 trillion ($5.93 billion) last year. The government is required to adhere to the last approved budget, which was passed in 2005.

“I am against confrontation and the priorities during this stage should be safeguarding stability in light of the chaos affecting the region,” Mikati told the local daily.

Berri told The Daily Star Thursday he was working to “mend fences” between different factions in Parliament by forming parliamentary committees to resolve controversial legislative issues.

Berri also said he was also preparing a political move to bridge the gap between rival March 8 and March 14 groups, adding that this was necessary to protect Lebanon from regional turmoil.BEIRUT: Retired Judge Salim Jreissati was appointed Friday as the new labor minister, replacing his predecessor Charbel Nahhas, and Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that Cabinet sessions would resume Monday.

Both President Michel Sleiman and Mikati signed the decree appointing Jreissati, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun’s candidate for the post, during a meeting at Baabda Palace in the morning.

In an interview with NBN TV, Jreissati said he respected Nahhas’ approach to doing things but that stability was crucial at the current stage.

“I will carry out changes in the ministry and will look at things with less severity than Nahhas, who [nevertheless] judged things based on constitutional standards and in a correct manner,” Jreissati told the local channel.

He also said that the Cabinet was now required to work harder and more harmoniously.

“I am not necessarily happy with the circumstances that have led to me becoming labor minister,” he added.

Jreissati, who hails from Zahleh, east Lebanon, is a legal expert and has held several leading advisory positions, including as a current advisor to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) team defending the four Hezbollah members implicated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He also recently served as an advisor in the drafting of the new Syrian constitution, which will be put to a referendum on Feb. 28.

In August 2011, just weeks after the STL issued its indictment against the four suspects, Jreissati took part in a conference organized by Hezbollah in which he delivered a presentation entitled “The Published Indictment: A Legal Study.” In the speech, Jreissati attacked the legitimacy of the court and pointed to what he described as “various gaps” in the indictment.

Meanwhile, Mikati said the government would resume its work next Monday but that its agenda would not include the thorny issue of administrative appointments.

As-Safir quoted the prime minister as saying the Cabinet session would be held at 9.30 a.m. Monday at Baabda Palace under the auspices of Sleiman.

Mikati said the session’s agenda would focus on issues that had accumulated over time, so that the Cabinet could facilitate the work of institutions and alleviate citizen's problems.

He also said that he would call for a further Cabinet session sometime next week.

Mikati suspended Cabinet sessions on Feb. 1 following a dispute with Change and Reform bloc ministers on administrative appointments as well as a dispute with Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas, of MP Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, who refused to sign a decree allowing the government to set transportation allowance fees.

Nahhas resigned this week as a result of the dispute.

Asked whether the thorny subject of administrative appointments would be on the Cabinet’s agenda Monday, Mikati said: “We are going through a friendly phase right now and I don’t want to start this new stage with recalcitrance.”

“There has been an opening with regards to the administrative appointments issue,” he added.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri told The Daily Star Thursday he expected the Cabinet would meet soon, after more than three weeks of impasse.

“The Cabinet will reconvene very soon ... a new minister will be appointed most likely before the Cabinet convenes or shortly after,” he said.

Asked about his assessment of Thursday’s Parliament session, Mikati voiced satisfaction, saying the adjournment was beneficial as it would provide time for parties to reach an understanding on a number of issues.

Thursday’s Parliament session, which lasted over two hours, was adjourned by Berri after deep divisions surfaced between March 8 and March 14 over an urgent draft law forwarded by the Cabinet to Parliament to retroactively legalize the extra-budgetary spending of LL8.9 trillion ($5.93 billion) last year. The government is required to adhere to the last approved budget, which was passed in 2005.

“I am against confrontation and the priorities during this stage should be safeguarding stability in light of the chaos affecting the region,” Mikati told the local daily.

Berri told The Daily Star Thursday he was working to “mend fences” between different factions in Parliament by forming parliamentary committees to resolve controversial legislative issues.

Berri also said he was also preparing a political move to bridge the gap between rival March 8 and March 14 groups, adding that this was necessary to protect Lebanon from regional turmoil.

 
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