Hariri prays near the grave of slain police intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan in Beirut, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Parliament endorsed Lebanon's first state budget in more than a decade Thursday, even as tempers flared and Future Movement ministers stormed out of the evening session.Only 76 lawmakers were present in Parliament during the vote out of 125 current MPs, with three seats vacant, as officials have failed to hold constitutionally required by-elections.The long-awaited 2017 state budget was passed after three days of morning and evening legislative sessions headed by Speaker Nabih Berri.Prime Minister Saad Hariri said at the end of the session that the government would start preparing for the 2018 budget as of next week.Almost an hour into Parliament's evening session on the budget, Minister of State for Refugee Affairs Mouin Merehbi, from the Future bloc, stormed out. He objected to lawmakers endorsing an item related to the governorates of Baalbeck-Hermel and Akkar that did not include a $30 million allotment for government projects.After the morning session, the Finance and Budget parliamentary committee head MP Ibrahim Kanaan told reporters that MPs endorsed LL10 billion ($6.6 million) for the Lebanese Red Cross, given the role it played during the Army's recent operations to clear the northeastern border region of militants.MPs held the morning session on the third and final day to ratify the state budget for the year.
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