Lebanon cabinet wins vote of confidence
Premier Fuad Saniora's cabinet on Tuesday won a vote of confidence at parliament, allowing it to rule the nation into general elections after nine months.
Hussein Husseini, a veteran MP who has spent half a century in politics, surprised the chamber by declaring his resignation to protest against the lack of progress towards a political settlement to the country's ordeals. According to Naharnet, Saniora said Husseini "sounded the alarm to all of us."
Five MPs voted no confidence and two lawmakers abstained, ending the seventh session designed to deliberate the cabinet's policy statement since Friday.
Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri declared result of the vote, despite what MP Butros Harb labeled a non-democratic administration for grouping both the majority and opposition in one executive body. "No one has the right to prevent legislators from expressing their views," Harb said. According to him, the various Lebanese factions do not disagree on the principle of resisting the enemy to liberate occupied territories, but differ on the method of resistance.
He urged President Michel Suleiman, who is scheduled to embark on a visit to Syria on Wednesday, to work out agreements with Damascus on normalizing relations, border demarcation and the setting up of diplomatic ties.
Saniora, in replying to remarks made by MPs, vowed that his cabinet would work for reconciliation, declared the northern city of Tripoli a town in distress and pledged that he would seek regional and international assistance to help the people overcome economic hardships.