Lebanon News

Bassil promises to ease citizenship for expatriates

Minister Gebran Bassil arrives to attend a Cabinet session in Baabda, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Descendants of Lebanese expatriates may soon have an easier path to citizenship, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said Thursday.

Bassil said he received political promises from both Speaker Nabih Berri and the Future Movement that they would back a draft law to allow grandchildren of Lebanese paternal grandfathers to apply for citizenship.

Under the current law, expatriates can only receive citizenship from their father.

“We received a promise from Speaker Berri to include the draft law for people of Lebanese origin to regain nationality on the agenda of Parliament’s next session, and we got a promise from the Future Movement to vote for the law,” Bassil said during the second day of a workshop on economic diplomacy.

The minister also said expatriates “should play an influential role in the political future of the country by voting,” adding that expatriates should also have lawmakers specifically representing them.

Former Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet in 2011 approved a draft law allowing Lebanese expatriates who were born abroad and only have the citizenship of the country of their birth to apply for Lebanese citizenship as well.

Under Lebanese law, women cannot pass on citizenship to their spouse or children.

The latest draft law would help Lebanese expatriates take part in future Lebanese parliamentary elections by voting at Lebanese embassies abroad.

The number of Lebanese living outside the country is thought to at least double the number of citizens living inside.





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