Sami Gemayel speaks in Beirut, Monday, March 13, 2017. (The Daily Star/Ahmad Azakir)
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An appeal by Kataeb Party leader MP Sami Gemayel against articles of the 2018 state budget law, particularly a controversial item over temporary residency for foreigners, stole the political limelight Tuesday, overshadowing the electoral battle that is heating up 11 days before Lebanon's parliamentary polls.It was not clear if the appeal against Article 49 of the budget submitted by Gemayel and nine other lawmakers would have any adverse effects on Lebanon's first general elections in nine years on May 6 .While Prime Minister Saad Hariri has ruled out the possibility of any resettlement of refugees, stressing that Article 49 was designed to attract investors to the country, President Michel Aoun sent a letter to Speaker Nabih Berri Tuesday requesting the article be revised.Following the appeal against the 2018 budget law presented by 10 lawmakers to the Constitutional Council, Aoun spoke by telephone with Berri and the two leaders agreed to put on hold the president's letter until the Constitutional Council decides on the appeal, another statement by Baabda's media office said.Aoun's consultation with Berri came shortly after Gemayel visited the Constitutional Council in the southern Beirut suburb of Hadath to present the appeal against the budget law and Article 49, after having secured the requisite signatures.
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