Hariri responds to Deputies’ interventions: to address priorities set out in ministerial statement

Prime Minister Saad Hariri responded from the Parliament to the interventions made by Deputies during the sessions devoted to discuss the ministerial statement. Hariri hereby stressed that “the government will follow up on the dossier of kidnapped military personnel, until they return.”

“Yes, there still are controversial topics, on top of which the issue of weapons (..) which shall be included within the country’s defense strategy plan. We do realize that there is a major disagreement over this item, and thus the importance of sitting down and tackling this matter,” he said.

“Pertaining to the election law, (…) I assure you that all the political forces within the government – myself included – want a new electoral law to be drafted. We want to accomplish this law and your honorable assembly to approve it. I also believe that, since none of you has mentioned the women’s quota, then all of you agree on it,” Hariri added.

“In reference to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, we affirmed our firm and definitive commitment thereon, but there seems to be a problematic with regards to the use of the word “initially” in the paragraph related to the said court which says “the government will follow up on the work of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which was established initially for the sake of truth and justice”. This meant that the STL was established “in principle” for these purposes and I do not think there is any disagreement over that,” the Premier explained.
Tackling the partnership between the public and private sectors, Hariri said “We will issue legislations therein as soon as possible, in cooperation with you Mr. House Speaker, because this subject has been put forward in the 2010 Government, yet still hasn’t been achieved, and that is unfortunate.”

“As for oil, this dossier requires a sequence of steps which begin by promulgating law decrees at the cabinet, approving tax regulations, launching licensing sessions and ratifying the ‘sovereign fund’. This issue is a priority for us,” he assured.

Hariri went on by saying “With regard to the dossiers of corruption, censorship and the judiciary, we emphasized in the Ministerial statement the need to ensure the independence of the judiciary and to protect it from all interventions, as well as the importance of fighting against corruption. For the first time we have a minister whose task is to combat corruption. Let us be realistic, it is almost the year 2017 and we still are a State that uses pen and paper. If we really want to eradicate corruption, we must work on the computerization of the State. (…) In this context, I would like to address colleagues and MPs by saying that voicing accusations against senior judges without solid evidence is a type of libel, and that is not permissible, especially that judges do not have the ability to respond, by virtue of the reservation duty imposed on them.”

The Prime Minister concluded his statement by saying “What I want to say, Mr. House Speaker, dear colleagues, is that there is a positive atmosphere prevailing over the country and there is a true sense of cooperation, because the political forces have all reached a place where they realized that we cannot move forward in this country unless we reach consensus. (…) I assure you that this progress has no regional grounds, but sheer Lebanese intention. All the parties have decided to walk together for the benefit of the people. Our duty in this government is to get down to business and seek the completion of all the priorities that we have mentioned in the ministerial statement. W may not be able to achieve all what we want because, basically, the life of the government will be about six months, but I assure you, God willing, we all will work on the adoption of a new electoral law. Consequently, the government asks for your trust as House of Representatives.”