Report: Cabinet Looks to Address Thorny Issues


Several controversial files will be laid on the Cabinet's table on Friday including logistical preparations for the upcoming parliamentary elections and finance allocations to create a magnetic voter card, adding to the allocation of what was described as “hefty” funds for the telecommunication ministry, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Friday.

Securing the needed compensations and finding central offices for the commissions tasked with supervising the May 2018 parliamentary elections will be discussed, said the daily.

Meanwhile, unnamed sources close to Prime Minister Saad Hariri refuted reports claiming that the PM wants to have the elections postponed, they assured that “there are no intentions to extend the term of the parliament,” pointing out that the elections “will be held on time in May.”

According to the daily, the Cabinet will approve the allocation of $133 million dollars to create a magnetic voter card for the parliamentary elections.

A French company is supposed to manufacture the cards, despite a previous unofficial agreement between political parties to postpone the adoption of such cards in the coming polls.

The contentious issue of allocating “huge” funds “from outside the budget” for the telecommunication ministry as requested by Minister Jamal al-Jarrah, is likely to arise between al-Mustaqbal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, added the daily.

Some ministers “were surprised to include the issue on the agenda by allocating 225 billion Lebanese Pounds after it was agreed earlier to postpone it until the draft budget is approved,” added the daily.

Ministerial sources told al-Joumhouria that the item was introduced again on the Cabinet agenda after it was “scrapped from the new state budget by Head of the Finance and Budget Committee MP Ibrahim Kanaan which compelled Jarrah to request its inclusion again.

“This suggests readiness for a confrontation between parties' ministers,” said the sources.