Lebanon: Christian political party members resign as ministers

Two of Lebanon's ministers have quit their posts in protest because their political party deems that the government is failing to address the problems of the country.

Lebanon's Prime Minister Tammam Salam (3rd R) speaks during a legislative session at the parliament building in downtown Beirut, Lebanon November 12, 2015. | REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

"The Phalange Party has decided to resign from the government because Lebanon needs a 'positive shock'," party leader Sami Gemayel said in press conference, as quoted by Gulf News.

The Christian democratic political party pulled out Minister of Labour Sejaan Azzi and Minister of Economy and Trade Alain Hakim following a meeting on Tuesday. Minister of Information Ramzi Jreij, who was reportedly free to make a choice, said that he would remain in his position because he "is not a member of the Phalange Party."

According the report, Gemayel rejected what he callls "cabinet mechanisms" that has suppressed objections, and criticized ministers who are allegedly not concerned with revitalizing the banking sector, having shown little interest on the plan submitted by the Minister of the Economy. He said that these government officials "are only concerned with passing suspicious deals," a remark that Gulf News surmises to be referring to the garbage disposal solution.

Gemayel had objected to the dumping of waste in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the construction of the Janna dam. The contractor hired to build the dam, he reportedly said, is facing corruption charges in Brazil and is "accused of bribing politicians to approve the construction of useless dams."

He also said that the government does not care about finding a solution to the problem of refugees from Syria, which is estimated to be around one million, nearly a quarter of the Lebanese population of nearly 4.5 million.

"This government has become uncontrollable and detrimental" to the interests of the country, he said, according to Al Arabiya. "Its existence is worse than its inexistence. Nothing justifies our participation."

He closed his speech by saying that the party would only be useful to the government if and when its ministers are able to stop corruption; however, he said that it was no longer so.

Lebanon has not had a head of state since May 2014, and the members of parliament have been in office since 2009, having extended their own terms twice.