19 July 2019 Lebanese Parliament approves the financial law

On 19 July, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced that the Lebanese Parliament approved the budget law for 2019 with 83 votes in favor, 18 against and 1 abstention. Before the approval, the country experienced a strong debate between political parties and social movements that expressed their contrariety to the new law. The government had to deal with one of the highest public debt in the world and a difficult economic situation. The government’s biggest expenses that provoke a huge deficit are the debt financing, the public sector’ salaries and in particular the subsidies to the country’s electricity provider.  The new budget law tried to limit the public deficit cutting the expenses and rising taxes. The World Bank’s regional Director for Middle East Saroj Kumar Jha welcomed the Parliament’s approval declaring on twitter: “This is a good first step and the broad discussion, which is unique in the region, is welcomed”.