Hariri on Budget Session: Mustaqbal Won't Boycott or Obstruct Institutions
Al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri stressed Monday that al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc will not “boycott or obstruct” state institutions, defending the bloc’s decision to take part in a controversial parliament session that approved the 2020 state budget.
“I stress to whom it may concern, and to anyone who is trying to seize the chance to fabricate campaigns, that al-Mustaqbal bloc will not be a tool for boycotting or obstructing institutions,” Hariri tweeted.
“It performed its duty, did not evade its responsibilities and voiced its stance openly in parliament and under the constitution,” he added.
“This is Rafik Hariri’s school and we will not abandon it no matter how hard the difficulties may get… When it is time for taking a decision that serves Lebanon’s interest we will take the appropriate decision,” the ex-PM went on to say.
Al-Mustaqbal bloc had earlier issued a statement saying it had voted against the 2020 state budget bill out of its belief that “the numbers included no longer reflect reality.”
“The economy is now different in size and quality compared to how it was when the previous government endorsed the draft budget,” it said.
“The current government should have won the vote of confidence before taking part in a session debating the budget,” it added.
The controversial session that was boycotted by several blocs and MPs, including those of the Lebanese Forces and the Kataeb Party.
Only 49 legislators voted in favor of the state budget. The Democratic Gathering bloc meanwhile abstained from voting.
The 2020 budget was drafted by the government of Saad Hariri, who resigned in late October in response to nationwide protests.
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.
Prime Minister-designate Hassan Diab attended the parliament session without any other member of his Cabinet. When pressed by members of al-Mustaqbal bloc whether he would adopt the budget drafted by the former Cabinet, Diab said: "Had we not adopted the budget we wouldn't have come today."
"There is nothing normal in Lebanon today and the economic and financial complications make us work quickly," Diab said.