The Government and the Licence of Confidence…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 16 November / Nov 2016. 11:02 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

The government Wednesday delivered the speech for Confidence, and it was long, very long; exactly 7,500 words long, covering every single detail of the government’s plan.

Nonetheless, this is the fundamental difference between Dr Hani Mulqi’s Ministerial Statement and that of former government predating Dr Abdullah Nsoor’s. The difference is that previously, government would deliver a statement entailing agendas that require years to be implemented, and thus would depart before any of the milestones are completed, and in many instances, before their first year in office is concluded.

This time, Mulqi’s cabinet is in a different situation. Mulqi’s statement is based on an extensive programme, with predetermined knowledge of having enough time to implement their 4-year programme; that is if they retain Representative Confidence for the whole duration.

Sunday, the House of Representatives will begin to deliberate Mulqi’s statement. And this will be the first time most MPs will have something to say.

Confidence speeches usually focus on issues not included in the government Ministerial Statement; the cabinet formation, for example. More so, this current formation has already incited much debate in the political and media midst, due to its inclusion of parallel ministerial roles, in addition to problematic assignments within the formation.

However, in light of the current formation of the House itself, and the inclinations of most of its members, it becomes rather difficult to describe next week’s deliberations, as we would usually in the media, as a marathon. It will most probably be a collage of 100-meter sprints; speeding, heated, and charged speeches for some, but will eventually leave no effect on the outcome of the House’s vote.

Certainly, media and spectators will be on the edge of their seats look out for some of the MPs’ speeches; like Abdul Karim Dughmi, Khalid Ramadan, Saleh Armouti, as well as members of the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the reform bloc, in addition some promising new faces among governorate MPS.

Women of the Parliament, unlike the previous House, are not expected to bring much, except for MP Dima Tahboub, the expressive —from previous occasions— Representative affiliated with the “Soqoor” (“Falcons”) current of the Islamist movement.

Just as well, the critique of the ministerial crew will not be as harsh and tough as it once was. Some ministers will receive more than their share of criticism though, but they should be good sportsmen about it.

Once again, regardless of all that, it will not affect the Vote of Confidence. The Government is not facing the threat of failing under the dome, for now. Some prominent MPs expect it to secure 90 votes, which is higher than the expectations of the government itself.

Typically, the cabinet is keen to secure and easy Vote in, which is why Mulqi curbed some of the argumentative edges and avoided bringing them up directly; like the gas accord with Israel. Still, some MPs will point to these issues, and use them as a pretext to launch their attack on the government.

By the end of next week, the government will have secured the Vote of Trust; it is within grasp. However, the more important issue is the maintenance of Confidence for as long as possible, without having to rely in the next months or years on the influence of friends to stay in office.

That is the real challenge; that the government relies on itself, instead of being under the mercy of “donors”.