Constitutional Council suspends budget article
The Constitutional Council agreed to suspend a controversial article of the 2018 budget, after convening to discuss an appeal filed by Kataeb Party leader MP Sami Gemayel against this article among others, the state-run National News Agency reported. President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Speaker Nabih Berri will be informed of the decision, and it will be published in the Official Gazette, the NNA said. Thursday’s was the council’s first session devoting to discuss the appeal, which particularly focuses on a controversial article allowing temporary residency for foreigners. Article 49 allows temporary residency for foreigners who acquire ownership of a house or apartment in Lebanon. Critics fear that such a law will allow for permanent settlement of Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Gemayel, along with nine other MPs, signed the appeal and delivered it to the Constitutional Council earlier this week. The council is expected to appoint a rapporteur, whose name will remain undisclosed, to issue an initial report in light of a study carried out over a period of ten days. After this initial report is released, the council will convene within five days to consider the appeal.