Parliament Meets for Third Day of Budget Talks


Speaker Nabih Berri chaired the Parliament’s meeting on Thursday convening for the third day to discuss Lebanon’s months late 2019 state budget that faced scrutiny for failure to meet the requirements needed to resolve the country’s economic and financial crisis.

MP Faisal Karami of the Democratic Gathering bloc criticized the government in his speech, he said: “This government is a scourge, and our only option is to deal with it as a fait accompli. It isn’t permissible to publish a budget devoid of closure of accounts.”

The MP declared that he would not vote in favor of the new budget.

For his part, MP Ghazi Zoaiter said in his speech delivered during the budget discussion that “reforms ought to be protected by the Constitution rather than violate it,” calling for relentless efforts to identify and names of corrupt people, especially those of the previous two governments.

"The goal of the state budget is to achieve the objectives of CEDRE, and what we need is a rescue plan,” he added.

He finally called on PM Saad Hariri to stand at an equal distance from all ministers. He also noted that compensations for Baalbek floods have not been paid to inflicted people yet.

“We reached a conclusion that this budget can not be implemented in light of the dangers facing Lebanon. The absence of real remediation today will make any future handling almost impossible,” said MP Eddy Abilamaa of the Strong Republic bloc.

The MP also condemned the failure to endorse the closure of accounts of 2018.

MP Ali Fayyad of Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc meanwhile described the 2019 draft state budget as an “achievement compared to the previous one,” noting that “it lacks a vision that combines the economic and financial aspects.”

“We are preventing an imminent collapse and in the 2020 budget we are required to shelve the solutions that are based on postponing collapse to shift to solutions that put the national economy on the path of salvation,” Fayyad added.

Speaker Nabih Berri meanwhile announced that the voting on the budget's article will begin on Thursday, telling MPs that attendance has become obligatory from now on.

A grouping of retired servicemen has meanwhile threatened to storm parliament should lawmakers approve articles that cut their salaries and benefits.

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