Parliament Convenes for Govt. Confidence Vote
A parliamentary session convenes on Tuesday and Wednesday dedicated to discussing the cabinet's policy statement where lawmakers will hold a government vote of confidence.
Two days of parliamentary debate had been scheduled but Prime Minister Saad Hariri has asked to limit the number of speeches in a session to be aired live on television.
More than 60 lawmakers have asked to make speeches, which parliamentary sources said would make it difficult to complete the session by Wednesday.
The government is expected to easily win a vote of confidence after Prime Minister Saad Hariri responds to remarks raised by MPs during the session.
Speaker Nabih Berri opened the session and observed a minute of silence commemorating late MPs Edgar Maalouf and Robert Ghanem.
Hariri after recited the cabinet’s policy statement and said that "Lebanon has an opportunity for salvation and reform."
Ex-PM Tammam Salam gave his vote of confidence and hoped the government would succeed in achieving the goals of the cabinet policy statement, and in saving Lebanon from regression.
Expressing confidence in the new government, Salam criticized the delay in forming the government and the unprecedented deterioration in political discourse.
He finally said that the reforms would not succeed, unless corruption was eradicated, calling for the activation of control bodies and to remove any power that politicians might have over the judiciary.
Hizbullah MP Hassan Fadlallah underlined his party’s keenness on the new government's success, stressing that the first step must be the supervision of the ministers.
Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Hadi Abu el-Hosn indicated that he grants the new government his confidence.
"We grant the government our confidence based upon the principle of partnership," he said.
MP Michel Mouawad gave his confidence to cabinet, and said that "true partnership is the guarantee of stability."
He called on President Michel Aoun to propose an article on the defense strategy as soon as possible.
MP Sethrida Geagea also gave her confidence to government and called for “restoring confidence in ourselves, the State and institutions.”
MP Faisal Karami meanwhile warned that "any politicization of the Syrian refugee file poses a threat to Lebanon and its relation with Syria."
And hailing Hariri's "responsible rhetoric over the past few days," Karami slammed Lebanon's "consensual democracy."
He also noted that "the first national mission is to draft an electoral law based on the Constitution and the Taef Accord."
MP Osama Saad meanwhile withheld confidence from the government and said that "its start is not promising."
"The worst thing in your statement is that you are denying responsibility for the crisis and claiming reform. Accountability is the beginning of reform and your start is not promising," Saad said.