Phalange party ministers quit Lebanon cabinet

Economy minister Alain Hakim( R) and Labor-Minister Sejaan Qazzi (L) are shown with Phalange party leader Sami Gemyel
Economy minister Alain Hakim( R) and Labor-Minister Sejaan Qazzi (L) are shown with Phalange party leader Sami Gemyel

The Phalange Party has decided to ask its two ministers Sejaan Qazzi and Alain Hakim to quit  Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s government, Phalange Party  chief MP Sami Gemayel announced on Tuesday, accusing the government of being concerned with passing suspicious deals only.

“The Phalange  Party has decided to resign from the government because Lebanon needs a ‘positive shock’,” said Gemayel at a press conference.

“For a while now, the government  has been trying to suppress us through cabinet mechanisms that were created with the aim of stifling our opinion and preventing us from stopping their deals,” Gemayel added.

“The government  has not shown any  not concern over  protecting the banking sector against the verbal attacks and  did not care about the economic plan that was submitted by the economy minister (Hakim),” Gemayel said

“The government’s  only concern was   passing suspicious deals,” he said.

Earlier on Tuesday , al-Jadeed television reported that  Phalange Party  had held a “stormy meeting” in which it decided to ask Economy Minister Alain Hakim and Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi to “resign from the government while leaving the choice for (Information Minsiter Ramzi) Jreij.”

Jreij told As Safir newspaper that he will not resign from the government because he “is not a member of the  Phalange Party .”

“In my opinion, the situations in the country cannot withstand the resignation of Qazzi and Hakim,” Jreij said.

At his press conference last  Thursday, Gemayel also expressed environmental concerns related to the controversial Janna dam project.

“The two issues are a disaster targeted against every citizen in Lebanon,” he said.

“I don’t know if there’s a relation between maintaining works at the Janna dam and approving the waste management file” , Gemayel added.

“They have chosen to destroy the largest forestland in the country and we have proposed alternative solutions,”Gemayel  said in reference to  the Janna dam project.

He noted that two out of three environmental impact studies had concluded that “the project is non-beneficial and non-environmental” while the third had warned of potential risks.

“We have found out that the contractor had been put on trial in Brazil on charges of corruption. The Brazilian firm was accused of bribing politicians to approve the contruction of useless dams,” Gemayel revealed.

He called for suspending construction works in the Janna area “pending a probe into the integrity of the contractor.”

As for the government’s plans to set up seaside garbage landfills in the Costa Brava and Bourj Hammoud areas, Gemayel lamented that the government “has decided to fill the Mediterranean Sea with garbage without conducting an environmental impact study and without sorting or treating the waste.”

“Our presence in the government is useful when we manage to stop corruption and benefit the Lebanese, but should our presence cease to serve the interest of the Lebanese then it would become unnecessary,” Gemayel added.