Lebanese Parliament Approves 2018 State Budget

The Lebanese parliament approved the 2018 state budget after two days of discussions.

Fifty MPs voted Thursday in favor of the law as MPs Sami Gemayel and Serge Torsarkissian voted against and Hezbollah’s 11 MPs abstained. At the beginning of the session, Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil stressed keenness on approving state budgets “within the constitutional deadlines and in line with the norms.”

“No spending has been left out of the state budget and the electricity loan is listed as part of the expenditure,” Khalil added.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri meanwhile blamed “the political situation in the country” for the delay in approving this year’s state budget.

Responding to criticism from MPs, Hariri said suggestions that the discussion of the budget is being “rushed” ahead of the CEDRE economic conference are “unacceptable.”

The legislature held morning and evening sessions that involved a brief loss of quorum.

The parliament closed Thursday’s session with passing 26 draft laws, and with the amendment of article 84 of the elections law concerning the biometric card.