BEIRUT: Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Thursday that all political parties bear responsibility for the critical phase the country is passing through, adding that the resignation of his government would only damage the foundations of the state.
“No political party in the country should exonerate itself from what is going on in [Lebanon],” Mikati said on his Facebook page.
“I affirm that we are all responsible before the Lebanese and that we should all assume responsibility, steer the ship to safety and activate the work of the government,” the prime minister added.
Mikati’s remarks come amid growing tensions in the country as a result of divisive domestic issues that threaten the unity of the government.
During the Cabinet’s session Wednesday, ministers argued heatedly over the growing phenomenon of street protests with burning tires, which have led to road closures, as well as the case of Electricite Du Liban contract workers’ three-month strike.
Health Minister Ali Hasan Khalil’s Amal Movement supports a draft law to employ the contract workers on a full-time basis, while MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc, backed by Christian parties, opposes the move.
Christian parties argue that the majority of workers are Muslim, meaning that hiring them full-time would violate the sectarian balance in government employment.
In his remarks Thursday, Mikati reiterated what he said during the Cabinet meeting, saying: “The country is going through a delicate, difficult and complicated phase, and current affairs are forcing the government to remain vigilant to preserve the prestige of the state.”
“Would the departure of the government be an exit from the current impasse or the death blow for the work of the government, its structure and symbolism?” asked the prime minister rhetorically.
The March 14 coalition has repeatedly demanded the resignation of Mikati’s Cabinet over several issues, the latest being the attempted assassination of MP Butros Harb earlier this month.
Mikati stressed Thursday that the most important thing for now is for ministers to work hand-in-hand to restore “the prestige and image of the state, the image of a strong and fair state for its citizens.”