BEIRUT — The cabinet began a meeting on Thursday shortly after 9:30 a.m. at the Baabda Presidential Palace under the chairmanship of President Michel Aoun, with around 49 items on its agenda. Cabinet approved the interior minister's decree to renew expired passports for one day, in order to allow citizens without an ID to participate in the parliamentary elections. The price of renewal is LL200,000.
Here’s what we know:
• On Wednesday, the interior minister indicated that President Aoun had “refused that this measure be adopted in the previous cabinet meeting,” according to comments reported by the local TV channel MTV.
• The energy minister's proposal to grant licenses to build solar power plants has been approved, after it was rejected during the last cabinet session. The Lebanese government issued licenses to eleven companies to begin producing 15 megawatts of solar power each, Reuters reported Energy Minister Walid Fayad as saying on Thursday during a press conference.
• Fayad said he “will visit Syria on Sunday to meet [his] Syrian counterpart at the Renewable Energy Conference, and we will have a long session on the sidelines to discuss importing gas through Syria.”
• “We were informed by the World Bank of the approval of an emergency loan to support Lebanon in purchasing wheat and securing bread for the citizens,” said Economy Minister Amin Salam. “The World Bank loan aims to secure wheat, maintain the price of a bundle of bread, and rationalize and distribute wheat in Lebanon.”
• Last Thursday, the government had asked the Banque du Liban to transfer an amount of 35 million dollars to the Health Ministry in order to buy drugs, especially those used for cancer and chronic diseases treatment.
• Information Minister Ziad Makary noted that the final session for Mikati’s cabinet will be held next week.
• President Michel Aoun asked the Justice, Defense, and Interior Ministers to stress the need to arrest bribers and the bribed during the elections and has tasked intelligence services of the military and security forces to assist in this issue. Aoun also asked the defense and interior ministers to control the security situation in and around polling stations to prevent any riots that would disturb the atmosphere of the electoral process.