BEIRUT — In the first meeting of the Parliament’s Media and Communications Committee, opposition MP Paula Yacoubian, who was originally elected to the committee, discovered she was replaced with MP Hani Qobeisi, who belongs to the Amal Movement, according to al-Nabaa online channel.
Here’s what we know:
• Yacoubian described what happened as “very strange” and “happens nowhere.” She added that replacing names on parliamentary committees requires a plenary session.
• She explained in the online interview released today that she had reached out to Adnan Daher, Parliament’s secretary-general, asking him to add opposition MP Mark Daou to a committee, “considering he was not elected to any… and considering it is his first time holding office.” She added that she suggested adding Daou to the Media and Communications Committee, replacing her.
• Yacoubian claimed that Daher told her that her request requires a plenary session to which she agreed, adding, “I agreed that I would be active on the committee until a plenary session is held” and the possibility of Daou replacing her is in effect.
• According to the state-run National News Agency, the Media and Communications Committee held a session today, chaired by the Committee’s Chairman, MP Ibrahim Moussawi, and in the presence of the caretaker Communications Minister, Johnny Corm, and the following MPs: Hani Qobeisi, Yassin Yassin, Rami Abu Hamdan, Ghayath Yazbeck, Nicolas Sehnaoui, Qabalan Qabalan, Cesar Abi Khalil, Saeed Asmar and Mark Daou.
• Yacoubian stated that she arrived at the session today “and found that I was replaced with another name, of course not by Mark Daou.” Yacoubian was replaced by MP Hani Qobeisi who belongs to the Amal Movement and Daou was also added to the committee.
• “I did not resign – where is my resignation paper?” Yacoubian asked. She added that Daher told her what happened is “not customary, not acceptable, and is to be solved.” Yacoubian could not specify how it would be solved as she had no further information available on the matter at the moment.
• Yacoubian added that she will be meeting with Daher along with Daou tomorrow to discuss the issue further.
• In a statement following the session, the committee announced that they “agreed with the Communications Minister on many important points, and the minister promised to send documents and information as soon as possible to complete the research and discussion."
• Prior to her political career, Yacoubian was a journalist and television host and worked at a number of Lebanese and international television stations including Future TV.
• This is the second time Yacoubian holds office after her 2018 parliamentary election win. Following the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast, she resigned, along with eight other MPs, from parliament in protest of its inaction in the face of the tragedy.
• Today, Yacoubian is one of eight female MPs in the Parliament.
• The new MPs from the May 15 legislative elections elected the members of 12 committees on June 7 and three other committees on June 10.
• The parliamentary committees have an important role to play in the legislative process, as they must vote on bills sent to them by the government before they are sent to the Parliament.