Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hezbollah and Amal Movement ministers resign from Lebanon cabinet


"In protests against the so called February 14 ruling majority that is insisting on " setting conditions, anticipating results for national talks as well initially rejecting a formulae of active participation in a national unity government that represents a guarantee for all the Lebanese," all five ministers from Hezbollah and Amal Movement resigned from the Lebanese government. The head of Hezbollah's Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary bloc said that the ministers have resigned because the majority insists on exercising power on its own. "We don't want ministers who blindly follow the majority," Raad said. "This is about giving a warning to the majority." But Prime Minister Fouad Saniora immediately issued a statement saying he would not accept the resignations, which he said he heard about from Lebanese media. The resignations came after the failure on Saturday of a week of talks on forming a unity government and months of political stalemate. The so called majority pledged to include General Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic movement, that represents some 75% of Christians in Lebanon, in the government. That was before Saturday's round of talks. According to FPM officials and participants in talks, the group was surprised to hear that the powers of February 14 will only give the General's movement 3 ministers instead of 4. Giving Aoun 3 ministers would expand the government to 27 ministers in which the opposition will have 8 ministers, therefore not reaching the number needed to have a "guaranteeing third". The opposition has been calling for the formation of a national unity government with a "guaranteeing third" so that the so called majority would not unilaterally take decisive decisions for the country. The ruling bloc argues that the opposition wants to "bloc the formation of a court of international character to try those involved in the assassination of former PM Rafiq Hariri. But the decision to form such a tribunal was agreed and Lebanon on Friday received the final draft of a UN resolution on creating this court. Therefore the opposition says that the pretext of "blocking the tribunal" is baseless. With the resignation of the five Shiite ministers, and according to the Lebanese constitution the cabinet will have no authority to take any decision as the representatives of a major sect would be absent, not to forget the already existent absence of FPM representatives of the majority of Lebanese Christians. "

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