Hariri attends the Parliament session in Beirut, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Despite criticism surrounding the 2018 state budget and how rapidly it passed through Cabinet, Parliament is poised to endorse the draft budget in its meeting Thursday. Lawmakers Wednesday concluded the first of a two-day parliamentary session aimed at studying and approving the budget after gathering for morning and evening sessions. The parliamentary session was called for by Speaker Nabih Berri after the Finance and Budget Committee headed by MP Ibrahim Kanaan finished discussing the draft earlier this week.Before Parliament convened, Berri met Hariri and Kanaan separately. As soon as Berri adjourned the morning session, Hariri headed a Cabinet session that lasted an hour. Back in Parliament, Hezbollah MP Hasan Fadlallah criticized attempts to undermine the supervisory role of the General Assembly and holding ministers accountable. Fadlallah blasted unchecked public spending, reiterating Hezbollah's stance that all tenders should pass through the Tenders Department. He also spoke critically about the speed with which the budget passed. Lebanon has been rushing to endorse its 2018 draft budget ahead of CEDRE and the May 6 parliamentary elections.Although the deadline for endorsing the 2018 budget had passed, Cabinet continued to discuss the draft and approved it earlier this month before referring it to the committee for deliberations.
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