Sleiman said that decentralization will bolster national unity and accountability. (The Daily Star/Dalati&Nohra,HO)
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President Michel Sleiman officially launched a draft bill for administrative decentralization Wednesday, arguing that the new legislation would promote national unity in Lebanon as well as transparency and accountability.When Sleiman was elected in 2008, he vowed to bring in the decentralization law during his tenure, making it a key part of his election platform.The bill, prepared by a committee headed by former Interior Minister Ziad Baroud, contains 147 items and prioritizes the powers and rights of the municipalities, particularly with respect to financial autonomy. The aim is to create an elected council in each of the country's 25 qadas with wide-ranging financial and administrative powers. This would comprise a popularly elected general committee, whose number of members would be based on the qada's population up to a maximum of six, and a 12-person board of directors chosen by the general committee. According to Sleiman, the bill would improve citizens' participation in democracy, which he said was not currently being practiced properly.
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