Hariri Receives Geagea for Talks on Pressing Issues
Prime Minister Saad Hariri received on Sunday evening at the Center House, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea where talks focused on several pivotal issues.
The meeting which lasted two hours and included a working dinner, tackled the parliamentary electoral law, Lebanon's 2017 budget plan, the long-stalled salary scale and the general situation in the country, Hariri's media office said in a statement on Monday.
Geagea was accompanied by Information Minister and the meeting was held in the presence of Culture Minister Ghattas Khoury and Nader Hariri, Hariri's chief of staff, added the statement.
The meeting comes after a long day of public protests witnessed in the capital Beirut complaining about the imposition of new taxes in a bid to fund the salary scale.
Thousands of protesters flocked to the Riad al-Solh Square in downtown Beirut on Sunday to voice rejection of the new taxes that the parliament has approved as part of measures aimed at funding the long-stalled new wage scale.
Political parties are still struggling to find a new electoral law format to govern the upcoming polls that meets the approval of everyone.
The country has not organized parliamentary elections since 2009 and the parliament has since extended its own mandate twice.
Hizbullah has repeatedly called for an electoral law fully based on proportional representation but al-Mustaqbal Movement and Druze leader MP Walid Jumblat have both rejected the proposal.
Mustaqbal argues that Hizbullah's arms would prevent serious competition in the party's strongholds while Jumblat has warned that such an electoral system would “marginalize” the minority Druze community whose presence is concentrated in the Chouf and Aley areas.
The political parties are meanwhile discussing a so-called hybrid electoral law that mixes proportional representation with the winner-takes-all system.
After a failure to approve a state budget for 12 years due to political differences, the government is also trying to approve the 2017 budget plan.