Berri Says he will Call for Legislative Session After Deal on Wage Scale


Speaker Nabih Berri has refused to call for a legislative session before receiving guarantees from the rival parties that they had agreed on the controversial wage scale for the public sector.

Al-Joumhouria daily on Friday quoted Berri as saying that a meeting of the parliament’s bureau should precede the session and that he would call for it only if he receives the long awaited solution for the raise.

The rival MPs have been unable to agree on the draft-law over their differences on how to fund the wage hike. There are fears that the approval of the draft-law would put more burdens on the country’s already ailing economy.

Berri reiterated that the wage scale is a top priority. But said he will inform the parliament’s bureau about all the draft-laws that have been proposed by lawmakers so that it assesses their importance.

Certain parliamentary blocs have recently announced that they were willing to attend parliamentary sessions to approve important draft-laws.

They had been boycotting the sessions under the excuse that parliament should not legislate in the absence of a president.

Al-Joumhouria quoted MPs as saying that the parliament’s bureau will likely meet on Monday if the rival parties agreed on the scale.

They expected the legislative session to be held mid next week.

The daily also said that Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, who is Berri’s aide, and Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan are scheduled to meet on Friday to put the final touches on the wage scale draft-law, which includes a one percent Value Added Tax hike and the payment of the raise in installments.


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