Gemayel Submits Challenge Contesting Government's Electricity Plan

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Gemayel Submits Challenge Contesting Government's Electricity Plan

Kataeb leader Samy Gemayel on Thursday submitted to the Constitutional Council a challenge contesting the electricity plan approved last month by the government, after garnering the ten requisite signatures.

Speaking to reporters upon emerging out the Constitutional Council, Gemayel thanked all the lawmakers who signed the appeal and acted against all expectations that no law can be appealed amid the current composition of the Parliament.

The deputies who signed the challenge are: Samy Gemayel, Nadim Gemayel, Elias Hankache, Marwan Hamadeh, Paula Yaacoubian, Nicolas Nahas, Oussama Saad, Ali Darwish, Jihad Al-Samad and Faysal Karameh.

MPs Nicolas Nahas, Paula Yaacoubian and Oussama Saad also showed up at the Constitutional Council to submit the appeal.

Gemayel stressed that the challenge does not stop the electricity plan, adding that it rather requires the adoption of transparency standards.

"The challenge contests the exemption of the government from law enforcement. If the Constitutional Council validates the appeal, then the government would be compelled to abide by the laws and to set out a regulatory and transparent framework for tenders," he pointed out.

"If the appeal is approved, we would then be imposing the respect of the Constitution and the laws in the tendering process, requiring the clarification of the legal framework and the mechanisms to be applied in the tenders, prompting the formation of a regulatory body that supervises the power sector, safeguarding the role of all the constitutional institutions as well as the audit bodies, and ensuring that accountability and transparency are applied throughout the plan's phases," Gemayel elaborated.

"We insist on resorting to constitutional institutions to prevent the violation of laws," he stated.

The appeal, which mentions seven main law violations, requests that the contested plan be suspended until the Constitutional Council issues its verdict on the challenge.

The power plan was proposed by the Energy Ministry to deal with the chronic electricity problem and ensure a 24-hour supply while reducing state subsidies that contributed to the country's heavy public debt.

Gemayel had criticized the power plan following its endorsement, saying that it encloses a blatant violation of the concept of accountability and the basic tendering rules.

"The way the Tenders Department was included in the plan is nothing but a major illusion," Gemayel said in the wake of the plan endorsement in April.

"The Energy Ministry will be the one setting out the tender conditions and reviewing the bids. The Tenders Department's role would be only to host this process," he noted.