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Parliament Approves 2020 State Budget with 49 Votes

Parliament on Monday approved the 2020 state budget in a controversial session that was boycotted by several blocs and MPs.

MPs from the Strong Lebanon bloc, the Loyalty to Resistance bloc, the Development and Liberation bloc and the Social Nationalist bloc in addition to the lawmakers Nicolas Nahas and Adnan Trabulsi voted in favor of the bill, a total of 49 legislators.

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Injuries, Arrests as Beirut Protesters Seek to Disrupt Budget Session

Security forces clashed with protesters in downtown Beirut on Monday, leaving several demonstrators injured and others detained. As the protests simmered outside parliament, lawmakers held a controversial session to discuss and later approve the state budget amid a crippling financial crisis.

Hundreds of soldiers, including special forces, as well as riot policemen were deployed on major roads in the capital and its suburbs. They had sealed off the zone leading to parliament to prevent protesters from barricading the lawmakers' path. The protesters had in turn blocked roads further afield in an effort to stop lawmakers from reaching the building, but security forces managed to keep a single road open.

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Diab Says Won’t Obstruct Budget Prepared by Previous Cabinet

Prime Minister Hassan Diab said on Monday that his government is not going to obstruct the 2020 state budget prepared by the former government of PM Saad Hariri who resigned in October.

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Several Lawmakers Boycott Budget Session

The Lebanese Forces Strong Republic parliamentary bloc on Monday boycotted a parliament session dedicated to discuss and later endorse the 2020 state budget.

The bloc said it decided not to participate because the parliament convenes to discuss the budget before a confidence vote for the new chosen government, and because the people reject it.

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Parliament Braces for Budget Approval amid Tight Security Measures

Tight security measures were imposed near Lebanon’s parliament on Monday as lawmakers are scheduled to begin a two-day discussion and later approval of the state budget amid a crippling financial crisis.

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Mashnouq Slams Mustaqbal Supporters who Attacked al-Jadeed TV

Beirut MP Nouhad al-Mashnouq on Sunday blasted Mustaqbal Movement supporters who had attacked the building of al-Jadeed TV in Beirut on Friday.

“I was worried for the Sunni community… and I grew more worried after I saw thugs attacking al-Jadeed TV’s building and smashing its entrance, and after thugs whose loyalty is well-known came out of our ranks to attack a media outlet, after their brilliant success outside my house,” Mashnouq, who distanced himself from al-Mustaqbal bloc after the 2018 elections, tweeted.

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Qaouq Says New Govt. Formation a 'Slap' to U.S. Administration

A senior Hizbullah official announced Sunday that the formation of a new government in Lebanon delivered a “slap” to the U.S. administration.

“The government’s formation was a slap to (U.S. President Donald) Trump, (Secretary of State Mike) Pompeo, (State Department Assistant Secretary David) Schenker and all the men of the U.S. administration, who bet on chaos, the besiegement of the resistance and the subjugation of the Lebanese,” Hizbullah central council member Sheikh Nabil Qaouq said.

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Al-Rahi Says Govt. Facing Tough Test, Salutes 'Peaceful Uprising'

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday said the new government is facing a “tough test” as he saluted the “peaceful uprising” of Lebanese youths.

“The new government is facing a tough test, seeing as it has embarked on a difficult risk, in the name of the people and the youths who lost confidence following successive disappointments from the politicians and officials,” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon.

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Alain Aoun Suggests Early Polls if Government Fails

MP Alain Aoun of the Strong Lebanon bloc has suggested going to early parliamentary elections should the new government fail to halt the economic and financial deterioration.

“First, the deterioration in Lebanon should be halted and then recovery measures should begin,” Aoun said in a TV interview, warning that “the failure of the rescue process would affect entire Lebanon.”

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Clashes Erupt as Protesters in Beirut Mark 100 Days of Demos

Clashes erupted Saturday between protesters and security forces in central Beirut, as hundreds of people hit the streets to mark 100 days of anti-government demonstrations and denounce a new cabinet line-up.

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