Hariri Warns against Turning Cabinet into 'Political Barricades'
Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned Friday that the Cabinet should not be turned into “political barricades” by the rival political parties.
“When we say that the executive power is the Council of Ministers united, this means that the Council of Ministers should hold a responsible dialogue and take responsible decisions. The cabinet should also be the first line of defense in the implementation of laws and protection of the rights of the Lebanese,” Hariri said at an iftar banquet that he hosted at the Grand Serail.
“When the Cabinet turns into political barricades, just like many experiences, the executive authority is disrupted and the state stops functioning,” he cautioned.
Hariri added: “Everyone in the cabinet is responsible, and no party can deny the decisions taken by consensus or by voting. The constitution governs the course of discussions.”
“I am working to have consensus and to reach economic and financial policies and administrative reforms by consensus, and I will not enter into any arguments in the media,” he went on to say.
Noting that “there is a ministerial statement that has been agreed upon, paragraph by paragraph,” Hariri underscored that “responsibility requires the translation of the statement in the state’s public policies and in the financial, reform and economic program.”
“We have a program that we agreed upon and presented at the CEDRE Conference. The program is an opportunity for the country and needs bold decisions and the will of all partners to stop the administrative and financial bleeding, launch the investment program, develop the services and open the doors for new employment opportunities for young men and women,” Hariri urged.
He also warned that “what we reach today would be useless if we decided to postpone the urgent decisions six months or a year.”
“The decision is in our hands and our partners at the CEDRE Conference are waiting. We have to take action,” he added.
Lebanon has vowed to slash public spending to unlock $11 billion worth of aid pledged by international donors during an April 2018 conference in Paris.
Last month, Hariri vowed to introduce "the most austere budget in Lebanon's history" to combat the country's bulging fiscal deficit, sparking fears among public sector employees that their salaries may be cut.
Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries, with public debt estimated at 141 percent of GDP in 2018, according to credit ratings agency Moody's.