Lebanon’s Speaker Criticizes Govt and FPM, Warns Against Federalism
Lebanon’s Speaker Nabih Berri on Friday criticized the cabinet’s performance, calling on it to take action to help citizens grappling with an economic crisis.
"The government is asked to stop biding its time, waiting for what the negotiations with the IMF and donor countries may lead to, and start taking action on the ground, rather than merely drawing plans. Actions speak louder than words," Berri said.
In a speech to mark the Resistance and Liberation Day, Jerusalem Day, and Eid al-Fitr, Berri slammed the Free Patriotic Movement as he tackled failure to resolve the electricity dossier.
The Speaker stressed the need to "free" the energy sector from the mentality of regional, sectarian and federal quotas by appointing a new "clean-handed" board of directors.
Also, Berri warned against calling for federalism to resolve the crises, affirming that "neither hunger nor any other misfortune will lead us to give in to any Zionist scheme."
He urged the Lebanese to end their political rivalries, which only lead to disturbing public order. “We ought to stop throwing accusations left and right, and start shouldering our responsibilities, for the sake of liberating Lebanon, both from its judicial and its political shackles."
Turning to the present economic circumstances prevailing over the country, Berri deemed it "inconceivable that food and health security, and the fruit of the Lebanese people's lifelong labor, should be the victim of incorrect banking policy. From where we stand, we thus reiterate that citizens' deposits are sacred."
Lebanon is currently one of the most indebted countries in the world while its pound has plummeted from 1,507 to more than 4,000 to the dollar on the parallel market in recent weeks, and inflation has soared.
Last month, the Lebanese government approved an economic reform plan to save the country from its grave crisis and it requested aid from the International Monetary Fund to help the nation find a way out of a dire financial crisis based on its five-year rescue plan.
Also on Friday, Berri chaired a meeting of the Parliament Bureau and set next Thursday as a date for the forthcoming general parliamentary session to discuss draft laws and law proposals on its agenda.
Sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the session should discuss draft laws concerning general amnesty, the draft law to lift banking secrecy, and a proposal presented by the government to receive LL1200 billion to be allocated for those affected by the COVID-19, in addition to a draft law organizing money transfers to outside Lebanon.