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Lebanese Deputy PM: We seek to Hold Parliamentary Polls before their Schedule - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Beirut – Government and parliamentary workshops are expected to be held in Lebanon after the Eid al-Fitr holiday in line with the outcome of the consultative meeting, which was held last week at the Baabda Palace, in parallel with the preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections in May 2018.

Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani is supervising several files which will be tackled in the coming ministerial meetings, including the activation of infrastructure projects, the electricity and the garbage file, as well as the 2018 budget.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Hasbani underlined the importance of holding cabinet sessions in various governorates, in order to boost cooperation between ministries on important infrastructure projects.

“It is the first time in Lebanon that we see a comprehensive plan aimed at dealing with infrastructure issues,” he stated.

Hasbani noted in this regard that he has held a series of meetings with 1,100 municipalities across the country, with whom he set out a list of priority projects, adding that ministerial meetings in the different governorates would be held as of end of August or beginning of September.

The cabinet, according to Hasbani, would extensively work on drafting an economic plan that would represent the basis of the 2018 budget, after the referral of this year’s budget for parliament’s approval.

He added that the garbage crisis would be also be resolved during the upcoming ministerial meetings.

A consultative meeting chaired by President Michel Aoun on Thursday gathered heads of the political parties participating in the current government and adopted the plan of action for the cabinet’s economic and reform items.

Participants in the meeting stressed the need for administrative decentralization, noting in a statement: “Lebanon, which is economically sound, needs to implement a comprehensive economic plan, which will generate the state budget, secure economic growth, create jobs and promote balanced development.”

The statement also called for the revival of the Economic and Social Council as soon as possible.

Hasbani told Asharq Al-Awsat that the current government’s top priority was holding the parliamentary elections, stressing in this regard efforts to hold the polls ahead of the scheduled date in May.

“The cabinet can do so, however, the issue is closely linked to the readiness of the Interior Ministry on the technical and practical levels,” he said.

Other governmental priorities, according to the deputy premier, include the security situation, noting that Lebanon has become one of the most stable countries in the region.