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Lebanese parliament convenes on budget amid tight security

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Lebanese lawmakers have begun discussing the draft 2019 state budget amid tight security and limited protests against proposed austerity measures.

The proposed budget aims to avert a financial crisis by raising taxes and cutting public spending in an effort to reduce a ballooning deficit.

Critics say the proposed measures fail to introduce structural reforms needed to rescue the flagging economy. Civil servants have been protesting for weeks, fearing the measures to be adopted in the new budget would lead to wage cuts for state employees.

The corruption-plagued country is one of the most indebted in the world and there have been serious concerns about an economic crash.

Roads leading to the parliament building in downtown Beirut were closed on Tuesday morning, ahead of the three-day debate.

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