Lebanon's parliament approves new coalition government

REUTERS
BEIRUT
Published 16.02.2019 00:48
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-HarirI is seen during the meeting to discuss a draft policy statement at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon Feb. 6, 2019. (Reuters Photo)
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-HarirI is seen during the meeting to discuss a draft policy statement at the governmental palace in Beirut, Lebanon Feb. 6, 2019. (Reuters Photo)

Lebanon's parliament gave the new coalition government the green light to start working with a vote of confidence on Friday after a televised session to debate its proposed policies.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri has said the government will prioritize economic reforms needed to bring Lebanon's massive public debt under control.

The government was agreed upon this month following wrangling over the makeup of the cabinet that had lasted since soon after a parliamentary election last May.

Most of the major parties represented in parliament have places in the cabinet, including those of President Michel Aoun, the Western-backed Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, as well as the Iran-backed Hezbollah group.

The reforms the government plans to pursue could be "difficult and painful," but are required to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions, its statement of policy said.

The government has pledged a "financial correction" equal to at least 1 percent of GDP a year over five years, starting with this year's budget.

This would be achieved by boosting revenues and cutting spending, starting with transfers to the state-run power company, which the World Bank has said represents a "staggering burden" on public finances.

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