Aoun delays signing off on austerity budget, cites confusion

Article 80 refers to the employment of successful Civil Service Council applicants who have yet to be hired, which was added after the majority of MPs lobbied for its inclusion.
by Annahar Staff

26 July 2019 | 16:25

Source: by Annahar

  • by Annahar Staff
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 26 July 2019 | 16:25

President Michel Aoun pictured next to Prime Mininster Saad Hariri (AP)

BEIRUT: "Confusion" over an article pertaining to state hires in the 2019 budget has caused further delays, with President Michel Aoun yet to sign off on the legislation. 

Article 80 refers to the employment of successful Civil Service Council applicants who have yet to be hired, which was added after the majority of MPs lobbied for its inclusion. 

"Further clarification is required of the endorsement of Article 80 of the budget," a statement from the President's office said.

Aoun's office received the budget on Wednesday after it was signed by both Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri. If he refuses to sign the budget, it must be sent back to Parliament for the second round of discussions. 

Another scenario is passing the budget in its current version while issuing a separate amendment at a later date. 

Last week, Parliament endorsed the hotly contested austerity budget which seeks to curb spending and raise revenues. 

A series of measures are aimed at reducing the state’s deficit-to-GDP ratio to near the 7 percent mark, down from last year’s 11.1 percent.

Among others, the budget puts a freeze on most state hires for the next three years. 

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