Un centenar de militares retirados se han enfrentado este lunes con las fuerzas de seguridad, que han empleado cañones de agua para impedir una intentona de asaltar el Gran Serrallo de Beirut, la sede oficial donde se celebraba un Consejo de Ministros para aprobar importantes recortes en el gasto público, incluidas las pensiones de exmilitares.
Dozens of Lebanese military and security veterans burned tires and shouted angrily outside government offices on Friday, their second protest in less than two weeks amid fears a proposed austerity budget may affect their pensions and benefits.
The protesters gathered in downtown Beirut as ministers met to discuss a budget bill that aims to cut public spending and tackle a national debt that stands at more than 150% of GDP. They denounced leaked reports of cuts to their pensions, calling on the government to address corruption instead.
Watchdogs voiced fears Wednesday that next month’s by-election in Tripoli might do away with pre-printed ballots.
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri is expected to meet with President Michel Aoun over the weekend to assess the developments as per the formation of the new government after completing consultations, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.
Two weeks after his designation, “Hariri is set to present the first government format, a Cabinet comprised of 30 ministers distributed on various political parties very much similar to the current caretaker Cabinet,” unnamed sources told the daily.
In spite of “optimistic atmospheres” of Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri that he is putting “maximum effort” to line-up the government, the formation path “has not witnessed any announced contacts” since his return from Riyadh, amid indecisiveness on whether it should include 32, 30 or 26 portfolios, al-Joumjouria daily reported on Thursday.
Sources of al-Mustaqbal Movement told the daily “although consultations are still young, but they are in progress.” They said Hariri wants to balance between the aspirations of political parties and the need to form a government."
Head of the Constitutional Council Issam Suleiman announced on Thursday that 17 appeals have be filed to the Council contesting the results of the parliamentary elections.
Suleiman said the appeal “does not stop the results of the elections. Elected candidates are considered lawmakers as soon as the results are announced,” he said during a press conference one day after the deadline for submitting appeals expired.
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri announced on Tuesday during a Iftar in Beirut that the government to be formed will be comprised of 30 ministers.
“The government that we will form hopefully will be of 30 ministers, this is the maximum that I can announce, and cooperation is ongoing with all parties to accomplish this task,” said Hariri in a speech he made.
“I am optimistic that all political parties are cooperating to form this government. If we want to please each party regarding the number of ministers it wants, we would form a government of 50 ministers,” he added.
Lebanon’s new government to be formed by PM-designate Saad Hariri will not “isolate” any political party, amid assurances that any obstacle threatening the formation process will be “overcome,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Saturday.
Sources of President Michel Aoun said: “The new government will not isolate anyone,” noting that the “Lebanese Forces are not targeted at all,” and that their concerns have been addressed during a meeting between the President and LF chief Samir Geagea.
The Lebanese Forces emphasized eagerness to maintain good relations with President Michel Aoun, voicing fears that outgoing Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil “seeks to break” their ties with the “presidential term,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.
“Bassil wants to blow the LF relationship with the presidential term,” by allocating the share of the president in the new government to figures belonging to his “political line,” LF sources told the daily on condition of anonymity.