The parliament on Thursday approved the 2017 state budget – Lebanon’s first state budget in 12 years – following three days of arduous debate.
Sixty-one MPs voted in favor of the bill, four lawmakers from the Kataeb Party voted against as eight other lawmakers abstained from voting.
Al-Jadeed television said the MPs who abstained from voting were MP Antoine Zahra of the Lebanese Forces, independent MP Butros Harb of Batroun and six lawmakers from Hizbullah’s Loyalty to Resistance bloc.
Kataeb Party chief MP Sami Gemayel described the approval of a state budget without a final account for the year 2016 as a “violation of the Constitution, the public auditing law and the parliament’s by-laws.”
The three-day parliamentary debate had witnessed heated arguments over the issue of approving a state budget without the submission of final accounts for the past 12 years.
A final account details spending and revenues for every fiscal year.
Earlier on Thursday, Gemayel announced that he intends to file an appeal before the Constitutional Council over the approval of a state budget without the submission of a final account.
Gemayel also tweeted that “it seems that covering up for the spending of $11 billion without final accounts was also a part of the presidential settlement” that led to the election of President Michel Aoun, describing the alleged secret agreement as a “collective violation of the Constitution.”
Disagreements over final accounts and an acute political rift between the March 8 and March 14 forces were behind the long-running failure to approve a state budget.