MP Jamil al-Sayyed on Monday stressed that Hassan Diab’s new government is not “Jamil al-Sayyed’s government,” denying media reports and political accusations that have suggested that he played a key role in its formation.
“This is not Jamil al-Sayyed’s government as it is being said and I will speak about the issue during the confidence session,” Sayyed said in a speech before parliament during a session to vote on the 2020 state budget.
“I wish we held a session prior to this one in order to discuss the current situation. This parliament is for the people,” the MP lamented.
“Had this parliament and the successive governments felt the people’s suffering, we would not have reached the brink of explosion,” Sayyed added, referring to the country's dire economic and financial crisis and the popular uprising that has been raging since October 17.
Describing the approval of the 2020 budget, which was prepared by the resigned government, as a “crime,” the MP noted that “the anticipated revenues have become almost void due to the situation which has prevented communication between the state and the citizen.”
“Accordingly, people have been given a grace period as of the middle of the year to pay their overdue fees,” he said.
Sayyed also urged Speaker Nabih Berri to hold other sessions after the approval of the budget in order to discuss the demands of the protest movement.
Parliament later approved the 2020 budget in a controversial session that was boycotted by several blocs and MPs.
Protesters, and some politicians, described the budget session as illegitimate and unconstitutional. They said the prime minister's new government has no right to attend and discuss the budget before it wins parliament's vote of confidence. Moreover, the budget was drafted by the previous government under Hariri, which resigned amid pressure from the street.
The former government had hopes to bring down the budget deficit to 7.6% of the GDP in 2019 year and to 6.5% in 2020.
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