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Lebanese Parliament endorses 2020 budget despite protests

Tuesday - January 28, 2020 9:41 am , Category : WORLD
Beirut, Jan 28 (IANS) Lebanons Parliament has approved the governments budget for 2020, despite attempts by anti-government protesters to prevent lawmakers from reaching the building.
Seventy out of the 128 MPs on Monday managed to make it to the session after soldiers and anti-riot police imposed tight security measures on all roads leading to Parliament, reports Efe news.
A total of 49 MPs voted in favour of the budget, 13 opposed, while eight others abstained.
Twenty-seven people were injured on Monday during clashes between anti-government protesters and security forces erupted near Parliament, according to the Lebanese Red Cross.
The state budget was first drafted by the government of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned two weeks after nationwide protests that started on October 17, 2019.
Last week, Lebanon's newly-appointed Prime Minister Hassan Diab formed a 20-member cabinet, including six women.
Diab said that his cabinet would not "obstruct a budget that was set by its predecessor".
Lebanon has one of the biggest public debt ratios in the world, equivalent to about 150 per cent of its gross domestic product.
Since the protests started, the economy has been progressively deteriorating and the Lebanese pound has lost its value against the US dollar, which is widely used in Lebanon.
In Lebanon, people cannot withdraw more than $300 per week from banks due to restrictions imposed by each entity in the wake of a lack of regulation by the Central Bank.

--IANS ksk/