Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun said during an interview with New TV on Sunday that his ministers “will not leave the government.”
“Let the prime minister quit” instead, Aoun said
Aoun tried to defend his ministers and blamed PM Najib Mikati for the failure of the cabinet
“We’re not putting obstacles in the government’s path, we’re rather confronting the wrongdoing, but the PM is paralyzing the cabinet,” Aoun charged.
Aoun warned that any attempt to replace or dismiss Labor Minister Charbel Nahhas would lead to the downfall of the already divided Cabinet.
“Charbel Nahhas is part of a bloc. If Charbel Nahhas is touched, the entire Cabinet will be brought down,” Aoun said adding that if Nahhas – one of 10 ministers in Aoun’s parliamentary Change and Reform bloc – had made mistakes, it would not have been accepted. “We abide by laws,”
Aoun also criticized the president’s stance :
He said that any president of the republic will have no role until we restore his powers,” calling on President Michel Suleiman to play his “real role” and “become an arbitrator according to the (current) constitution.”
“Simply, those who don’t have (parliamentary) representation cannot rule,” Aoun added.
“If we had elected Suleiman as a president, that doesn’t mean that he can ‘sit on our shoulders’,” he went on to say.
Commenting on his bickering with Suleiman over the issue of Christian posts, Aoun stressed that he was “the one who represents Christians in power.”
“I must select the Christian (civil servants) and until now we haven’t gained anything in the administrative appointments,” he noted.
Aoun accused the president, Mikati and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat of siding with March 14 and insisted that “the government is not a Hezbollah’s government.”
“Aren’t Walid Jumblat and the premier part of the March 14 camp? The cabinet has 12 ministers who vote according to March 14’s policies, as they (Jumblat and Mikati) have only quit that camp verbally and not truly,” Aoun claimed.
He also accused the president and the Prime Minister of teaming up in the Cabinet to confront his ministers’ plans. “The president is playing the ministers’ role in supporting the prime minister. There is a diabolical alliance between Suleiman and Mikati to stand against us,” Aoun said.
The president criticized Nahhas and said that he could be dismissed from the cabinet or reassigned for refusing to sign the decree pertaining to the transportation benefits of the labor union employees
Nahhas is arguing that the transportation benefits should be made legal first by Parliament and challenged the president by saying . “I will not sign [the decree] even if 29 ministers agree to dismiss me. Anyone who can dismiss me, let him try.”
Aoun then attacked former PM Fouad Siniora and said: “Let Siniora tell us where did the donations go.”
“He does not have any trait a statesman should have and he is responsible for many scandals. He is the biggest scandal and let him and those defending him meet us in court,” Aoun added.