Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk speaks during a press conference on July 13, 2017 after meeting with President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace. (The Daily Star, Dalati Nohra, HO)
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Parliament is set to ratify a state budget this week for the first time in over a decade, raising hopes of an end to past years' uncontrolled extra-budgetary spending in the billions of dollars, officials said Sunday. Meanwhile, Cabinet solidarity appeared to be in jeopardy Sunday after Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk sharply criticized Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil's foreign policy, drawing a quick rebuke from the latter.Addressing a Parliament session last week that passed a tax hike bill to finance the public sector's salary hike law, Berri stressed that the state budget should be ratified before the end of October. Lebanon has not had a state budget in over a decade due to political bickering.Machnouk, a key figure in the Future bloc, appeared to lash out at Bassil, saying that Lebanon's foreign policy was "rudderless".Bassil, the leader of the FPM, indirectly struck back at Machnouk, accusing him of being "subservient" to foreign powers.
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