Jumblat Decries Bassil Wage Cut Calls, Disagrees with Hizbullah over Meeting Place
Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat criticized the Foreign Minister’s call to cut wages of the government employees as part of austerity measures, and noted that his recent conflict with Hizbullah arose over the place of a meeting scheduled between the two, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Monday.
“What Bassil is ushering for is a faux pas,” Jumblat told the daily, stressing that the government can impose austerity measures on several other sectors that involve waste of public funds and corruption.
“Many other facilities can be approached that involve waste and corruption,” he said, “there are a million other sources where the government can impose measures other than the wages of these employees.”
Over the weekend, Foreign Minister Jabran Bassil said that cuts to the salaries of government employees must be one of the options to cut spending.
Lebanon’s government gears up to discuss and approve its state budget amid economic woes and a likelihood to cut the salaries of ministers and deputies.
On reported tense ties between Jumblat and Hizbullah due to disagreement over the place of a scheduled meeting between the two, he said that Hizbullah wanted to hold it in Haret Hreik (Hizbullah’s stronghold) but that he prefers it to be held at his place.
“We have agreed on a joint meeting between the two parties this week but disagreed on the location. I understood from (PSP Minister) Wael (Abou Faour) that (Hizbullah official) Hajj Hassan Khalil has asked it be held in Haret Hreik which I frankly refused. The party (Hizbullah) should take the initiative and visit us this time,” said Jumblat, noting that it was pre-scheduled before Hizbullah changed plans.
Hizbullah-PSP ties were tense and the said meeting was supposed to ease the conflict.