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Lebanon’s Kataeb Party Joins Opposition, its Ministers Act as Caretakers - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Beirut-The Kataeb Party has decided to pull its ministers out of the Lebanese government at a time when the country’s security is shaken following a bomb attack on a bank located in Beirut.

Kataeb leader MP Sami Gemayel said the resignations are intended to create “a positive shock” to fill the presidential vacuum and pave way for the functioning of state institutions which have been paralyzed for the past two years.

The move of Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi and Economy Minister Alain Hakim to the side of the opposition will keep them in their caretaker capacity.

Speaker Nabih Berri described their resignations as a “percussion grenade.”

Sources close to Gemayel told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that the young leader of Kataeb is studying a work plan for the coming stage.

The work plan on confronting the government will be based on three axes – political, judicial and street protests.

It is mainly aimed at confronting the waste plan, which will turn the sea into a dump, said the sources.

The two Kataeb ministers announced their resignations over the garbage plan which has been adopted by the government to resolve the waste crisis that shook the country for eight months last year.

The resignations also came as a result of the controversial Janna Dam project which Change and Reform bloc chief MP Michel Aoun is pushing to build in the area of Jbeil, north of Beirut, amid wide objections over environmental concerns.

The resignations were not welcomed by several parliamentary blocs.

Minister Nabil de Freij, who is a member of the Future Movement, expressed surprise at Kataeb’s belief that the resignations would create a positive shock and would push towards the election of a new president.

Information Minister Ramzi Jreij, who is the third minister to represent the Kataeb in the cabinet, has refused to resign.

Jreij told Asharq Al-Awsat that he is not a party member, which means he is not compelled to abide by the decisions taken by the Kataeb politburo.

The minister revealed that Gemayel has understood his stance.

“It’s true that the cabinet’s work is paralyzed and most of the time it is not productive, yet it remains the only constitutional institution of what remains to be seen as legitimate in this country,” he said.