MPs raise questions on financial crisis, get no answers


Joint parliamentary committees convened Wednesday to discuss the financial situation and to question the government represented by Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Shami and Minister of Finance Youssef el-Khalil.

Deputy Speaker Elias Bou Saab said that the dialogue was constructive and calm during the session.

"Why can't Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh attend a session at the parliament to be questioned by the MPs," Bou Saab asked, adding that the MPs have agreed that Salameh must come to parliament and give answers.

"We have no answer about who is responsible of the exchange rate swings and who is setting the exchange rate," Bou Saab said.

The MPs also criticized the banks' open-ended strike, as Hezbollah MPs asked during the session why the banks shut their doors a day after the start of the October 17 protests.

Hundreds of retired soldiers demanding better pay tried to break through the fence leading to the Grand Serail in downtown Beirut, as the joint committees convened. They clashed with riot police and troops and several people suffered breathing problems from the tear gas.

On Tuesday, protestors also blocked roads in parts of Lebanon after the Lebanese pound briefly hit a new low amid a historic economic crisis that seemingly has no end in sight.