Hariri discusses electoral law with Gemayel, and issue of kidnapped soldiers with their families

Prime Minister Saad Hariri received this afternoon at the Grand Serail the President of the Kataeb Party, MP Sami Gemayel, who said after the meeting that it focused on the electoral law and the budget.

He added: “In this context, we want to remind the public opinion that a few days separate us from an important stage, after which Lebanon’s democratic system would be subjected to problems. On February 21, if no law has been approved by Parliament, as is likely, we are headed towards options that are all bad: Either elections on the basis of the 1960 law, which means the extension of the current political class for four new years, or we extend the mandate of Parliament, or face parliamentary vacancy. The three solutions are unacceptable for us.”

He continued: “We regret that the government did not elaborate a new draft electoral law to present to parliament, and also regret that parliament did not yet place on its legislative agenda the draft electoral laws, and did not take any serious measure to adopt a new electoral law. A dilemma will begin in a few days, i.e. after February 21, 2017 “.

Question: What did the Prime Minister say in this regard?
Gemayel: Prime Minister Hariri said that contacts are under way but did not reach a result. We are saying the government must assume its responsibility and submit a draft law to Parliament, which should give it priority in the legislative session. There are laws on the table in Parliament, and the Speaker should put them to vote.
All political leaders in Lebanon assume the responsibility of any delay in these two matters, whether by parliament or government. The Constitution says that these laws should be put to the vote in parliament, and not doing that is negligence. For us, it is a collusion to keep Lebanon in its current situation. Many citizens have ambitions and ideas for Lebanon and are not allowed to enter parliament. There are many new parties and the civil society is very active in Lebanon, they have the ambition to improve political life and are not given the opportunity”.

Question: Why are you against technical extension?
Gemayel: Why do we resort to technical extension? Why wasn’t the law voted? If the electoral law had been examined since the beginning of the term of this government, we would not need a technical extension. Today, we in Lebanon see the error and get used to it and we no longer pay attention to the big mistakes committed. I believe we must stop and bounce back on errors. We shall continue to demand the application of the Constitution, and aspire for a state of law in Lebanon, that respects the law, the Constitution and constitutional deadlines”.

Families of the abducted soldiers
Hariri also received a delegation of the families of the soldiers kidnapped by Daesh, in the presence of the Minister of Communications Jamal Jarrah, MPs Ziad Kadri and Amin Wehbe and the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Defense Maj. Gen. Mohammed Khair.

During the meeting, Prime Minister Hariri expressed his solidarity with the cause of the abducted soldiers, underscoring that he will spare no effort to resolve this tragedy. He added that he gives this national and humanitarian issue par excellence special attention and will follow it with the President and the security officials until the end.

After the meeting, Nizam Mgheit said: “The meeting was frank. The families expressed their pain and the neglect in which they have been living since the abduction of their children more than two and a half years ago. PM Hariri promised us to intensify his efforts, in cooperation with the President of the Republic Michel Aoun and Speaker Nabih Berri. We will see if the promise is kept especially that we no longer have much hope in promises. Unfortunately, the role of the state was absent in this issue. Now we have a strong state and it will show its power by returning our children”.

For his part, Hussein Yussef said: “The meeting aimed to unblock the file. In the last period, there was failure from the state. PM Hariri promised to exert more efforts to solve this crisis. We will not abandon our children.”

Hariri also received the Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Lebanon Charles-Henri d’Aragon, accompanied by the first counselor at the Embassy Francois Abi Saab.
After the meeting, d’Aragon said it was his first meeting with the Prime Minister since he assumed office, adding: “I briefed him on the work and activities of the Order of Malta in Lebanon, and the cooperation agreement signed between us and the Lebanese government. We also discussed our relationships with the ministers who work with us, especially the Ministers of Health and social Affairs”.

Hariri also received a delegation from the Lebanese Maronite Order, headed by Neematallah Hashem, in the presence of advisor Daoud Sayegh.

Hariri had met with Minister of State for the fight against corruption Nicolas Tueni.

In the morning, Hariri sponsored a conference on “Strengthening human resources management in the Lebanese public sector”, organized by the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR).

He said: “Developing the administration and strengthening human resources management in the public sector was one of the priorities of my father Martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri who believed in solving this chronic problem and keeping pace with global modernity.
There are places where we did not evolve, and this should not continue. OMsar, and since its establishment has been working to introduce new ideas to the administration.
You all know that the methods used in the administration were old, but with the evolution of technology and computerization, there are modern ways for administrative work in all countries of the world, that must be adopted in the various departments of our state , and the duty of this ministry, under the supervision of minister Inaya Ezzedine, is to work on developing administrative work. There is no doubt that the programs sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the European Union that brought the best people and managers to develop the administration are helping us a lot”.

Hariri concluded: “I thank Minister Ezzedine, everyone who works in the ministry, the European Union and the UNDP. The human being by nature does not like change, but we all have to push for change in the administration through the use of technology that contributes to facilitate the work of the citizens”.