Minister Qazzi Officially Expelled from Kataeb Party

Labor Minister Sejaan Qazzi was expelled on Monday from the Kataeb Party after he rejected to abide by the party’s decision on resigning from Prime Minister Tammam Salam’s government.

“Based on the report of the party’s general secretariat, which highlighted Minister Qazzi’s clear violation of the party’s bylaws, Kataeb’s political bureau has decided to permanently expel Minister Sejaan Qazzi from the Kataeb Party,” the politburo said in a statement.

Citing Salam’s “acknowledgment yesterday that corruption is the rule in this government” and “the government’s inaction towards the Syrian refugee crisis, the security deterioration, the dire economic situation and the threats against the banking sector,” Kataeb said “all of this highlights the correctness of Kataeb’s decisive and final decision on full resignation from the government.”

Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel had first announced the resignation of Kataeb’s ministers last Tuesday. Shortly after the announcement, Information Minister Ramzi Jreij declared that he will not resign from the government, noting that he is not a member of the Kataeb Party although he was nominated by it.

The two ministers’ rebellion means that Kataeb’s decision will only apply to Economy Minister Alain Hakim.

Speaking to LBCI television about his expulsion on Monday, Qazzi said: “The decision was probably taken prior to the decision on resigning from the government because some in the ‘new Kataeb party’ find me annoying.”

Reminding of the many roles he played in the party’s history in the past 45 years, Qazzi regretted the party’s decision but noted that he has “no grudge” towards Gemayel or Kataeb’s members.

“I’m not an ordinary minister but one who has a long national history although some do not like to acknowledge that. I was with (slain president-elect) Bashir (Gemayel) at the age of 20 and I was a partner in decision-making, so I will not implement a decision without having a say in it at the age of 60,” Qazzi had told al-Mustaqbal newspaper in remarks published Sunday.

“This is not the right time for abandoning responsibility but rather the time for confrontation and resilience. As for my constitutional point of view, I believe that resigning from this government has no practical meaning,” he said.