News from Beirut November 26  1996 .......Search

The government statement discussion

Headed by the president of the parliament, Mr. Nabih Berreh, and attended by 123 deputies, the parliamentary session devoted to discussing the governmental statement started yesterday.

The government was represented by the Prime Minister, Mr. Rafiq Al-Hariri, besides 25 Ministers.

First to speak was president Salim El-Hoss who noted that discussions must be about the tripartite authority, representing the three presidents. If they disagreed on a matter, as it happened while constituting the government the state would be paralyzed, and if they agreed upon something, as in the mass media issue, they would distribute shares. Talking about corruption, he said it was very obvious in the last elections, and if the administration was to be separated from politics, then the council of ministers must do it since it has, according to constitution and law, the authority in the administrative field.

The government statement, on the other hand, didn't handle the audio-visual media issue. On the contrary, some of  high-ranking officials have taken advantage from the undergone authorization process. Thus the opposition voice was shut down and democracy became in danger. El-Hoss then called for the government to adopt the motion aiming at extending the term of the non-authorized audio-visual media.

On the social level, El-Hoss talked about the general recession, causing unemployment on one hand, and a decrease in wages power on the other , adding that the national economy was not in a very good situation, since poverty, unemployment and trade balance deficit, reaching 6 billion dollars existed. He then reminded the prime minister, of promises he made, first to hold municipal elections after two months of the parliamentary ones, and second to form the social and economic council, besides enforcing the role of  the National Bank for Industrial and Touristic Development.

Then, deputy Isam Fares delivered his speech, asking officials to know the truth from people, who didn't care anymore for the new government. The future is very dark, children living on roads, garbage thrown on both roadsides, robbery, aggression, and world newspapers showing pictures of people searching in the garbage; besides administrative corruption, economic recession, unemployment, toxic waste, as if the government wanted the life cycle to stop. Fares denounced any reconstruction project which wouldn't include all Lebanese citizens.

Concerning the governmental statement, he said it enclosed parts of measures, while a national and global plan of economic development was required, and asked the cabinet to review what it called the economic, financial and social stability. Fares also reaffirmed the necessity of holding municipal elections, and asked the cabinet to declare an emergency state within the administration,to cease corruption and law violation. Finally, he declared he would grant the new cabinet his confidence according to its achievements, and not through promises.

Afterwards, deputy Nasib Lahoud stated that the government became aware of the necessity of setting clear objectives of an economic strategy and of  reconciliating currency stability with social one. He also insisted the government must rationalize public expenditure, ending the point of view saying public money never ends. He regretted the counterfeiting of the last elections, for the government was not prepared for such a mission.

Lahoud declared the parliament was responsible of the country's democratic life and 3 points, which the government statement didn't include, must be clarified:

1-The municipal elections which are long overdue after 30 years and still, the state is ignoring them.

2-Organizing the audio-visual media, where even a modern law turned into a cover to share tributes.

3-The elections law and parties law: the cabinet is preparing a new law for the elections, which might be accompanied with another law of parties. Adopting one department according to majority, would suppress the opposition voice. Deputy Lahoud said he wouldn't grant confidence to the government.

Deputy Talal El-Merehbi insisted on implementing U.N. Resolution 425, in order to have just and comprehensive peace, denounced the way the government was constituted, and pointed out that besides social and economic priorities mentioned in the government statement a development plan, aiming at a balanced development of all Lebanese regions, should have been included in this statement

Deputy Zaher El-Khatib then pointed to the social and economic crisis, as well as corruption, stealth and bribes, noting that the executive power must be assigned to the cabinet, and not to the Prime Minister, for no president or Prime Minister, to whatever community he belonged, has the right to decide by himself. He added the actual Prime Minister intended through that to violate the constitution and the Taef agreement, to cease the function of institutions and to threaten the national consensus. El-Khatib declared himself with the organization of the mass media issue. Deputy El-Khatib called for the constitution of a neutral committee to set the number of frequencies and channels that the Lebanese air space can handle.

Then he asked , how come that the Prime Minister Television was able to broadcast by satellite, without an authorization, and without paying due charges ? .

El-Khatib called for the adoption of the ascending taxes scale, to achieve justice between all citizens, and wondered what would happen on November 28th state of emergency, since in last February 29th, the Army was deployed.

He reaffirmed, however, that he will not give up to such a strategy, even if it caused him to die. Then, he tore the government statement.

Then, it was deputy Henry Chedid's turn to praise all efforts made and achievements reached, since the end of the war, on various levels, but wondered whether the price could have been less than that, and he declared granting confidence.

Deputy Michel Moussa, on the other hand, raised the living issue, the prisoners one, as well as the administration reform.

Deputy Gebran Tawq found the governmental way of implementing the statement was wrong, especially when categories are considered in politics. He however, granted the confidence.

Deputy Khatchek Babekian dealt in his speech with the suffering of the citizen in public offices, transport systems and others. He asked to separate politics from administration.

Deputy Ismael Sokkaryyeh criticized the social equilibrium mentioned in the statement, since it has been shaken several times.

Deputy Wajih El-Baarini asked the government to carry out a balanced development, hindered by the former cabinets.

Deputy Khalil Abd Ennour thought it was strange that the Prime Minister carry several portfolios, instead of supervising all Ministries.

Then, Deputy Ghassan Mattar said that he supported the media law, but in order to protect freedoms and to help those who work within these institutions. He added that we arrived on the verge, and the structure would soon crash down on us.

Deputy Faysal Eddaoud granted the confidence, on condition of carrying out promises made to the Bekaa region.

Deputy Khalid Al-Hrawi asked the government to fulfil promises it made to the middle class.

Deputy Baha Eddine Itani insisted on continuing the reconstruction process, in order to reach the national objective of a strong and sovereign state, granting the confidence to the cabinet. Deputy Saleh El-Khayr gave the confidence.

Deputy Alaa Eddine Terro asked to enforce public schools, to set a housing strategy, to have an independent justice and to give more importance to agriculture.

Deputy Adnan Araqgi granted the confidence to the government and wondered about the tripartite authority.

Deputy Ibrahim Amin Essayed insisted on making the South liberation a priority, and called for the adoption of ascending taxes scale, on behalf of the bloc of  resistance fulfillment, he didn't grant the confidence.

Deputy Emil Nawfal criticized depriving Byblos region from services and ministries but gave the confidence.

Deputy Antoine Haddad granted his confidence to the Prime Minister, his deputy, Mr Michel El-Murr, and several other Minister. Deputy Chaker Abou Soleiman demanded the return of all dislodged people, for there was not a national consensus before achieving this goal, and gave finally the confidence on behalf of the bloc of Northern Matn deputies.

Deputy Jihad Assamad called for the adoption of ascending taxes scale. Finally, Deputy Agop Joekhadaryan criticized corruption within the administration.

The Thursday demonstration

The head of the general Labour Union, Mr. Elias Abou Rizk, visited, along with a delegation of  the Union, the head of the High Islamic Shiite Council, Imam Sheikh Mohammed Mehdi Shamseddine, and informed him of the objectives of the Union movement next Thursday.

The government is still opposing to this peaceful demonstration.


Europe Kick-Boxing championship.

During European open championship in Kick-Boxing, organized by the International Kick-Boxing Association, the Lebanese delegation won 3 gold medals, and one silver medal, prompting the Lebanese flag to be raised and the Lebanese anthem to be played 3 times . The championship was held in Kalinbourg, Denmark.

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