BEIRUT: Parliament’s Finance Committee failed to make any progress on the issuing of biometric national ID cards Thursday.
Head of the committee, MP Ibrahim Kanaan, led discussions on the replacement of Lebanese national identity cards. However, Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil did not attend and his approval is necessary to move forward with allocating funds for the replacement process.
The meeting was called to discuss proposing a new law that would devote additional funds to replace the current identity cards with biometric versions.
“We hoped that the finance minister would be present. … If a vote had taken place [without his input] this project would have collapsed,” Kanaan said in a news conference after the meeting.
The MP said quorum was not reached in the last 15 minutes before voting was set to take place.
The new cards would contain all of a resident’s personal information necessary to complete governmental paperwork.
The cards have been at the center of controversy since a new electoral law was passed that stipulated voters would use election-specific magnetic voting cards.
Last month Cabinet approved a plan to replace current ID cards with biometric versions that could also be used in the upcoming elections scheduled for next spring.
However, some political parties have argued that issuing biometric cards for all Lebanese, instead of election-specific cards for only eligible voters, would be expensive and time-consuming, and could lead to a delay in holding elections.
Source: The Daily Star