BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman Wednesday officially proposed a bill for administrative decentralization, arguing that the new legislation would promote national unity in Lebanon as well as transparency and accountability.
“Administrative decentralization provides balanced development and strengthens national unity and diversity in Lebanon without obstructing federalism or any kind of partition,” Sleiman said at Baabda Palace in the presence of a large number of ministers and ambassadors.
He also said the bill provides “transparency, accountability, and monitoring, bringing the citizen closer to holding accountable those he has elected.” He also said it was as important as the electoral law and the budget law in terms of securing the needs of the Lebanese people.
Administrative decentralization, which was called for in the 1989 Taif Accord, seeks to redistribute authority, responsibility and financial resources and for providing public services among different levels of government.
Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued a decision in July 2012 that called for the formation of a committee to prepare the bill, headed by former Interior Minister Ziyad Baroud, who introduced it at the palace Wednesday.
Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk also lauded the bill, which he said “ensured commitment to the Constitution and the Taif Accord.”
According to Sleiman, adoption of the bill would improve citizens’ practice of democracy, increase the participation of young people and women in major decisions.
“Partnership between the private and public sectors is important, and it [the bill] promotes employment opportunities for the youth and this curbs migration and brain drain and reinforces the economy. Villages will regain their sons scattered abroad."
He asked MP’s to give their feedback on the law so that it can be passed by the Cabinet before the end of its term.
Separately, the president said he would be studying the law addressing domestic violence, which was passed by Parliament Monday but without any of rights organization KAFA’s amendments. This was met with outrage by the organization, which vowed to continue campaigning.
“Today we hear a cry about the domestic violence law, and we will study the law with Parliament to try to introduce amendments,” Sleiman said.