Government's Budget project under scrutiny: Quorum issues and political tensions

Lebanon Economy
2023-07-19 | 08:50
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Government's Budget project under scrutiny: Quorum issues and political tensions
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3min
Government's Budget project under scrutiny: Quorum issues and political tensions

At three o'clock in the afternoon on Monday, the Cabinet is supposed to convene in open sessions to discuss the budget project.

The ministers have yet to receive a copy of the project, which they are supposed to review at least 48 hours before the session's scheduled time. 
The attendance of at least two-thirds of the Council members, which is 16 ministers, is required for the session to be valid.

Will the quorum be met?

The old situation will remain unchanged. The ministers who ensured the quorum in previous sessions, some of which dealt with less important matters than the budget, are expected to attend.

Their attendance is based on the belief that the budget is a top priority to ensure financial and constitutional stability. Therefore, the government must discuss the project as it is related to its legislative responsibilities in Parliament.

As for the Christian ministers who previously boycotted the sessions due to their perceived lack of constitutionality, specifically, those affiliated with the Free Patriotic Movement: Henri Khoury, Hector Hajjar, Walid Fayyad, and Abdallah Bou Habib, who have remained committed to the boycott so far, it seems that their stance has not changed, as nothing has changed in the state's governance, as emphasized by high-ranking sources in the movement. 

They consider the government's actions to be a violation of the constitution, law, partnership, and the position of the President.

The quorum is secured if the Caretaker Minister of Tourism, Walid Nassar, is present, along with the ministers from Amal, Hezbollah, and the PSP, in addition to the Christian and Muslim ministers affiliated with Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati's team. The budget study will fall under their responsibility.

Caretaker Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine will attend after proposing the discussion of an item outside the agenda, which is related to appointing a head of the delegation that will visit Syria after the Foreign Minister's resignation, aiming to accelerate the signing of a protocol between Lebanon and Syria and expedite the mechanism for the return of refugees.

However, the quorum will remain secure if Charafeddine leaves the session due to the item of the ministerial committee's presidency not being raised outside the agenda.

The open discussions on the budget will open a new chapter in the political disputes, which are likely to extend further amidst the presidential vacuum.

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