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Resignation of Two Kataeb Party Ministers Threatens Lebanese Cabinet | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Caption: Press conference for Head of The Kataeb Party MP Sami Gemayel. National News Agency/Dalati & Nohra

Beirut- Lebanon’s government faced a new shock yesterday when two ministers from the Kataeb Party (better known in English as the Phalange) announced their resignation in protest over corruption and government inefficiency.

In a press conference held yesterday night, head of the Kataeb Party Sami Gemayel said the resignation was due to “the performance of a failed political class that is playing with people’s lives and hinging on foreign countries.”

Gemayel said Tuesday that Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi and Economy Minister Alain Hakim were resigning “because we believe Lebanon needs a positive shock.”

However, he confirmed that the resignation does not mean the party is quitting the battle against the failed political class.

“We promise to place our hands in the hands of Christians and Muslims to achieve the true change that serves all Lebanese,” Gemayel said.

Despite the two ministers’ resignation, the cabinet is not considered annulled. The ministers’ resignation is not formal due to the absence, since two years, of a President to sign the resignation decree. However, this resignation will place the government in a new stalemate, as it makes decision-taking even more difficult.

Gemayel explained that the Party’s ministers have participated in the government to protect institutions from vacuum, but only few months.

Lebanon’s current government headed by Prime Minister Tamam Salam was formed on February 2014.

Salam has reportedly appointed Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan to serve as the acting labor and economy ministers, respectively.

Gemayel said: “We have worked on many files. We have succeeded in some places. We succeeded in uncovering several scandals and avoiding slips form happening. We have uncovered corruption. We have worked on stopping Syrian workers and others from flooding the Lebanese market. We think we succeeded in protecting the state, at least, during the period of our work.”

However, he said there were several attempts to prevent the party from fighting corruption.

Kataeb Party ministers Azzi and Hakim are the second and third ministers to resign from the current government. Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi had resigned in February.