The Lebanese Kataeb Party on Sunday unveiled its platform which encloses a set of principles, goals and strategies designed to address pressing issues at all levels.
The platform is broken down into planks or declarations that address five main topics: sovereignty, democracy, economy, society and environment.
A- Army and Security:
1 - Deploying the army across the Lebanese territory so that there won't be any area that is not controlled by the Lebanese state, including Palestinian refugee camps and factions' bases.
2 - Tasking the Army with setting out a national defense strategy to confront all dangers that threaten Lebanon's security, territorial integrity and independence.
3 - Maintaining the armament of the Lebanese Army and diversifying the sources of its weapons.
4 - Institutionalizing the Higher Defense Council and turning it into a permanent coordination body that links competent security agencies together.
5 - Establishing a crisis anticipation watchdog body, which was proposed by Martyr Minister Pierre Gemayel, and adopting a national civil protection plan in order to deal with natural or industrial disasters.
6- Demarcating Lebanon's land and maritime borders using all possible means, including satellites, as there is still no reason to prevent this process from being completed.
7- Resorting to all diplomatic means to reclaim the Shebaa farms, the hills of Kfarshuba as well as all territories that belong to Lebanon once the demarcation process is achieved. This requires Syria to abide by the UN Security Council resolution demanding it to submit documents proving the real ownership of these lands.
8- Implementing the provisions of the Lebanese Constitution and UNSC resolutions 1559 and 1701 in terms of arms possession in Lebanon where the military should be the only armed force. Controlling all Lebanese borders and abiding by the truce agreement with Israel.
C- Foreign Policy:
9- Introducing a new article into the preamble of the Constitution, clearly stating Lebanon's permanent neutrality and seeking the recognition of the UN Security Council, the General Assembly of the United Nations and the Arab League in this regard. Lebanon must also work on getting a clear acknowledgment of the value of Lebanon as a space for dialogue between civilizations, cultures and religions.
10- Bringing the ordeal of Lebanese detainees in Syrian prisons to an end by uncovering their fate and paying a compensation to them or their families.
11- Reviewing and amending all Lebanese-Syrian agreements, abolishing the Lebanese-Syrian Supreme Council as well as the Defense Agreement sealed between the two countries, and adopting diplomatic norms and principles when dealing with Damascus.
12- Tasking municipalities, ministries and relevant agencies with conducting a comprehensive survey of Syrians in Lebanon, determining the legal status of each of them, distinguishing between war-displaced and economic migrants, revising the UNHCR's data, and preventing the entry of economic migrants whose protection is not deemed as mandatory as per the international laws, and carrying out all the needed contacts with the international community so as to speed up the return of Syrian refugees and their resettlement to Arab countries which need a labor workforce.
13- Committing to the Arab Peace Initiative (Beirut Declaration 2002) and to the international resolutions pertaining to the Palestinian cause which is considered as righteous. Launching an international conference that would focus on the issue of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, while making sure that talks are based on their right to return to their homeland and the rejection of their naturalization, and working on a comprehensive plan to share this burden by all friendly countries until the Palestinians return home.
14- Separating the Ministry of Expatriates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and establishing an expat financial fund that would be listed on the stock exchange market to invest in Lebanese companies.
15- Setting out a "code of ethics" that would include binding rules of conduct that presidents, ministers, deputies and senior officials would have to adhere to during their terms.
16- Lifting banking secrecy off the accounts and assets of deputies, ministers, top public servants and contractors who are awarded projects by the state.
17- Amending the Illegal Enrichment Act in terms of limiting the complaint to the injured party, canceling the bank guarantee owed to the plaintiff and reducing the imposed fine if the judiciary finds that there is no illicit enrichment situation; these amendments would make it easier for citizens to hold officials to account.
18- Modifying the procedure based on which the members of the Higher Judicial Council are selected and making sure that appointments go in line with the independence of the Judiciary.
19- Liberating the Audit Bureau, the Central Inspection Bureau and all other supervisory bodies from the control of the executive authority, and requiring them to submit detailed monthly reports about the performance of deputies.
20- Ratifying the law of public transactions and assigning the task of tender management and the solicitation of bids only to the Tenders Department.
21- Appointing a "Mediator of the Republic", also known as the ombudsman, establishing the National Authority for Human Rights and approving the law of the National Anti-Corruption Authority.
B- Civil State and Constitutional Institutions:
22- Approving a new electoral law that would be based on the majoritarian system in single-member constituencies, and reducing the current number of deputies (128).
23- Establishing a Senate in which all of Lebanon's historical communities would be represented.
24- Amending the Constitution in a way that boosts the powers accorded to the President of the Republic, especially by giving him the authority to refer back decrees issued by the Council of Ministers.
25- Amending the Parliament's by-laws in order to compel the distribution of the agenda of a session at least one week in advance in normal cases, and 72 hours in exceptional or emergency cases. The amendments should also include the adoption of electronic voting, and the development of human resources by providing deputies with specialized parliamentary assistants.
26- Setting out a regulations system for the Council of Ministers, specifying the powers of both the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers as well as other main issues relating to the implementation of the Constitution.
27- Approving an optional law on civil marriage and personal status.
28- Establishing a Ministry that would manage and address the affairs of local authorities, while making sure that it is not part of the Ministry of Interior.
29- Approving the law of decentralization and reconsidering the current administrative divisions, provided that the local authorities would be granted extensive administrative and financial powers.
30- Abolishing pre-censorship and activating post-censorship, that monitors the performance of local authorities, by establishing administrative courts and Audit Bureau offices in all governorates to reduce corruption and squandering.
31- Setting a detailed timetable in the government to set the annual date when the share of the Independent Municipal Fund and the telecom proceeds would be allocated to municipalities.
D- Public Administration:
32- Abolishing the Council for Development and Reconstruction as well as the funds and agencies that serve as alternates to the work of ministries, and replacing them with the Ministry of Planning.
33- Ratifying the e-government law while setting a timetable for its application.
34- Conducting a survey that determines the workforce needs of all public administrations in a bid to purge them of the so-called "phantom jobs".
35- Suspending all forms of part-time contracts and launching competitive exams to fill vacancies as part of a new management structure.
36- Developing the Central Statistics Center and activating its role so that the laws and government decisions would all be based on accurate figures and statistics.
A- State Budget:
37- Approving a state budget that is duly held, respects the principles of unity, annuality and inclusiveness and abides by the principle of non-allocation of incomes, while committing to the pre-requirement of submitting an audit of the previous year's accounts and abiding by the constitutional deadlines.
38- Reducing the deficit ceiling and setting a clear plan to gradually decrease it each year in order to bring down the deficit-to-GDP ratio below 5% over the next four years.
39- Adopting the private-public partnership (PPP) to address the deficit problem of the Electricite du Liban (EDL), which cost the treasury $15 billion over the past 10 years, and to ensure more power supply before the tariffs are reconsidered. The collection of power bills should be made more efficient, and the operational costs should be also reduced in order to halt the treasury bills given to EDL and achieve financial balance in the budget.
40- Opting for a correct and modern classification and description of jobs in the public sector so as to reduce random employment and control the wages accorded in the public sector, which account for more than 33% of the state's total expenditure.
41- Canceling the system of life-long compensations and allowances granted to lawmakers in order to alleviate the burden on the state treasury.
B- Public Debt Management:
42- Establishing a body that would be responsible of managing and restructuring the public debt in order to reduce its volume, which is now close to 150% of GDP, to under 100% over the next four years.
43- Set a ceiling for indebtedness while stopping to get involved in more debts to cover current expenditures, such as the wages and salaries of public sector employees as well as the growing deficit of the electricity sector.
44- Establishing a special office that would be tasked with combating tax evasion and forging fiscal equality.
45- Adopting the progressive taxation system, in which the tax rate increases as the taxable amount does, in a bid to establish social justice, improve the collection of taxes, ensure compliance, fight fraud, and reduce tax evasion as well as the hidden economy.
46- Reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) to 10% and enforcing tax reforms in a way that would increase direct taxes and decrease the indirect ones.
D- Business Environment:
47- Ratifying laws pertaining to bankruptcy, trade, secured lending and competition in order to facilitate the work of business sectors and boost the competitiveness of the Lebanese economy.
48- Approving a law on Trademarks and Geographical Indications to introduce Lebanese products and promote them in foreign and domestic markets, as well as to protect both the consumer and producer.
49- Activating economic diplomacy by seeking new markets for the Lebanese exports and stimulating mutual investments, especially with countries in which Lebanon enjoys a certain advantage.
50- Reactivating and providing support to the Lebanese Export Promotion Agency (LEBEX).
51- Exempting the made-in-Lebanon exports from the total income tax to encourage investment and productive economy.
52- Activating the work of bilateral business councils and benefiting from Lebanese expatriates who can play an important role in consolidating ties between Lebanon and the countries where they reside.
53- Reviving Lebanon's accession to the World Trade Organization.
54- Creating a favorable and supportive business environment for women through incentives, special policies and specialized training.
55- Establishing a Lebanese-international program to encourage the youth to launch projects with a limited capital, especially in areas outside Beirut, and setting out a housing policy to enabling young Lebanese men and women to own affordable houses in their country.
56- Establishing a technology and innovation area to support start-ups and providing a business environment as well as a high-standard infrastructure and incentives to attract investments.
57- Promulgating the applicable decrees of the public-private partnership (PPP) to promote the dynamics of sustainable development and boost growth by harnessing the private sector's human, financial, administrative, regulatory, technological and knowledge capacities to finance and establish infrastructure.
58- Implementing the partnership between the private and public sectors in major projects in various sectors such as water, transport, electricity, education and health.
59- Speeding up the establishment of LIBA Telecom, which would be responsible of managing and developing the landlines network, in addition to establishing a third mobile phone operator in order to achieve real competition.
60- Providing new electronic electricity meters, with the possibility of introducing a payment system that would be based on prepaid cards to curb fraud and boost revenues.
61- Separating transport from the Ministry of Public Works by establishing a Ministry of Transport which would approve and implement a comprehensive policy for the land and maritime transport sector.
62- Improving the means of public transport through the adoption of trams in major cities and buses that operate between the coast and mountain areas. A smart technology system should be also adopted.
63- Rehabilitating the Qlaieat Airport to be used for civil aviation, expanding the Riaq military airport to stimulate economic activity and establishing a new airport in the northern Mount Lebanon area.
64- Rehabilitating the railways along the coastline.
65- Building parking towers in Beirut and other big cities that suffer from traffic congestion and the lack of enough parking spaces.
F- Oil and Gas Sector:
66- Committing to international and local standards to improve transparency by finalizing Lebanon's accession to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), achieving the discussion and adoption of domestic laws that promote transparency in the oil and gas sector, and cooperating with specialized civil society organizations to monitor the work of the State and the private companies involved in this sector.
67- Approving a modern and transparent law for the Lebanese Sovereign Fund that would preserve the revenues of the extractive industries for future generations, while also aiming at fulfilling economic and development goals.
68- Setting an economic strategy for the oil and gas sector, determining the volume of revenues and on what they will be spent. Providing support to other sectors, that are either directly or indirectly related to this sector, in order to increase job opportunities, and enhancing vocational and technical education that is specialized in this sector.
69- Establishing a national oil company in the wake of the proven presence of oil reserves in Lebanon's exclusive economic zone, while making sure that it complies with the highest standards of good governance and transparency by steering it clear of political influence.
A- Human Rights and Public Freedoms:
70- Abolishing the Ministry of Information and the General Security's pre-censorship on cinematic and artistic works, and reconsidering the powers and functions of the National Media Council in a way to include electronic media.
71- Abolishing death penalty and replacing it with the hard labor sentence.
72- Extending the powers of the Defense and Interior Parliamentary Committee to strengthen the monitoring mechanism of the performance of the army and security agency, and forming the National Human Rights Commission to ensure full respect of human rights and public freedoms.
73- Approving the proposal that was submitted by the Kataeb deputies to amend the Military Justice Law; a proposal which aims to limit the prerogatives of the Military Court to cases involving military personnel only and transfer the power to look into disputes between military staff and civilians to the courts of justice.
74- Developing punishments that would be alternative to imprisonment, by resorting to social sanctions, conditional liberty and other measures that are designed to rehabilitate the wrongdoers, not just punish them.
75- Reducing pre-trial detention and halting the arrest decisions via phone calls as done by general prosecutors.
76- Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in the laws pertaining to personal status, penal code, labor and social security and passing a law that protects them from sexual harassment.
77- Adopting a female quota system that accounts for at least 30% of the parliamentary and municipal seats as well as in other areas of public service.
78- Abrogating all legal provisions that criminalize homosexuality.
79- Approving free health insurance for those over the age of 65 years while amending the labor law to meet the requirements of a healthcare system for all workers, so as to ensure coverage after retirement for the worker and his affiliates.
80- Activating and updating the healthcare card for non-insured persons and determining the state's contribution in accordance with a budget set in advance. By doing that, patients will be benefiting from healthcare services at reduced prices in public and private hospitals.
81- Organizing and developing ties between private hospitals and insurance companies at all levels, while making sure that hospitals would get their rights.
82- Establishing a regulatory body for the health and pharmaceutical sectors to ensure quality and enforce applicable laws.
C- Human Dignity and Social Security:
83- Developing the work of the national program to help the poor by enhancing work incentives and not relying permanently on government assistance.
84- Enhancing household care for vulnerable groups by enabling Lebanese families to take care of the elderly, children and people with special needs at home.
85- Updating and implementing the Juvenile Protection Act through the establishment of child protection centers across Lebanon, particularly in remote, deprived areas in order to provide shelter, protection and care for children, and, therefore, curb homelessness, child labor and trafficking.
86- Ensuring an old-age security system to allow beneficiaries to receive an appropriate and adequate pension.
87- Implementing the Law 2000/220 that concerns people with special needs, by equipping public places, buildings, pavements and gardens in a way that suits their conditions. Granting tax incentives to private companies in a bid to create more job opportunities for people with special needs.
88- Developing a special insurance program to protect any individual and his family during the period of forced unemployment.
89- Providing more assistance to marginalized groups, strengthening the capacities of social service workers, notably the specialized care institutions, and re-directing resources towards people with a low-income.
90- Introducing the concepts of accountability, transparency and good governance by requiring associations and social service providers to abide by a set of binding standards and quality systems.
91- Carrying out a periodic review of economic indicators to link income with the cost of living.
92- Establishing a pension fund for workers who have been permanently disabled.
D- Pluralism and Cultural Wealth:
93- Introducing Armenian and Syriac as optional languages to be taught in public schools.
94- Establishing a public library where publications and researches on the history, major issues and the specificities of each of Lebanon's cultural groups would be found.
95- Reviving cultural heritage, as well as conducting a general survey of heritage buildings, classifying them and preparing a comprehensive restoration strategy in partnership with their owners, banks and donors. An archaeological excavation and restoration campaign should be launched nationwide, using the assistance of researchers and experts.
96- Activating the National Committee for Artisanal Work to establish quality standards, regulate this sector and ensure markets for the products to secure the continuity of this artistic sector.
97- Providing support to the Lebanese film and art production, as well as to emerging writers in a bid to promote the Lebanese cultural industry.
E- Educational Policy
98- Establishing Lebanese University campuses in areas outside Beirut to help reduce the cost of living, housing and transportation fees that students are incurring.
99- Stop licensing new private universities to maitain the quality of education, and granting licenses to colleges that provide programs that meet the needs of the Lebanese labor market. The licenses granted to some universities, that do not provide the required level of education according to internationally-approved standards, must be reconsidered.
100- Activating and institutionalizing the work of the Supreme Council of Higher Education and appointing the evaluation commission, as stipulated by the law regulating this sector, to control and develop the level of this education and ensure that it meets the needs of the labor market in coordination with the National Institution for Employment.
101- Reassembling public schools in ideal compounds within one geographical zone and providing transportation for students from neighboring areas according to a strategic plan that ensures the quality of education by gathering the best cadres in one place, stopping waste and rationalizing the disbursement of financial and technical resources.
102- Suspending part-time contract hiring and introducing a new mechanism that takes into account the applicant's educational level, language knowledge, achieved training and years of experience.
103- Activating and modernizing the educational inspection body and establishing a public-private system to evaluate and improve the quality of education.
104- Issuing a unified history book that includes the different perspectives regarding the major events that took place in Lebanon, so as to respect the different viewpoints in the country and leave the student to draw the facts and come up with the conclusion that he finds more convincing.
105- Re-examining the law pertaining to the higher technical education in terms of the years of learning and training, activating the Supreme Council for Technical Education, working on the development of the curricula of the vocational and technical education and improving its image to ensure a prestigious social status that attracts students, trainees and parents.
A- Solid Waste Management:
106- Approving the solid waste management draft after making the necessary adjustments in accordance with the environmental and scientific standards adopted by the European Union, and endorsing the national strategic method to manage solid waste which would incorporate the practical steps to minimize the volume of garbage.
107- Encouraging garbage sorting and boosting the recycling industries, provided that companies would be decentralized while under state supervision.
108- Promulgating the draft law, proposed by the Kataeb party, proposing the clearance of debts owed by municipalities to the Independent Municipal Fund, due to the solid waste management contracts that were agreed upon by the Cabinet without the prior consent of the concerned municipal councils.
109- Appointing a regulatory solid waste committee that would be under the Environment Ministry’s supervision. This body would be tasked with following up on the Tenders Department and municipalities when launching any tender for collecting, transporting, sorting and treating waste.
110- Including the costs of establishing and operating the waste treatment and energy recovery centers in all of Lebanon in the Environment Ministry’s budget, provided that the collection of garbage, street sweeping and sorting remain under the jurisdiction and financial control of municipalities and its federations.
B- Urban Planning:
111- Amending the construction regulations by embracing clear environmental criteria and conditions, such as the establishment of green buildings that are characterized by energy-saving technologies.
112- Declaring the green located in the vicinity of Greater Beirut as natural reserves after approving the needed decrees and legislations to implement that. More green spaces must be created in urban areas.
113- Stopping works in unlicensed quarries, dismantling them and forcing their owners to contribute to the rehabilitation of the distorted area. No more licenses should be granted to establish a quarry or mine, except on Lebanon’s eastern mountain chain. A strict supervision of excavation and construction works should be enforced in mountain areas as many are being used as a cover to set up new quarries.
114- Collecting all legislative texts dealing with the environment in one law, while insisting on implementing the Environmental Protection Law and enforcing all of its provisions. No public or private project should be established unless approved by the Environment Ministry based on an environmental impact study.
115- Completing the design of detailed maps to make sure that lands are being use in a way that complies with the national plan for zoning and urban planning. Reviewing previous designs while taking into consideration the preservation of forest, agricultural and mountainous areas, as well as rivers and maritime spaces.
116- Reorganizing economic facilities in certain areas and eliminating construction violations while compensating the owners.
117- Setting out a general urban planning outline, to be added to the current zoning guidelines, in order to preserve the heritage characteristics of old towns and prevent them from being turned into concrete blocks.
C- Water Resources Management and Quality Assurance:
118- Completing the establishment of mountain lakes in accordance with the ten-year plan approved in 2002.
119- Re-evaluating dams that have not been so far implemented in the 10-year plan and turning them into water strips on rivers, thus reducing the cost and the negative environmental impact entailed by the construction of dams. This would also reduce the risk of landslides and geological faults, while increasing hydropower production.
120- Building water towers in cooperation between water authorities, major municipalities and municipal federations to provide safe drinking water to all houses in cities and villages.
121- Directing the investments of water authorities towards improving the efficiency of distribution networks, which waste more than 50% of water. This can be done by installing meters for subscribers and the adopting a smart technology that allows the cutting of supply to those who do not pay the bills.
122- Ensuring the quality of water resources through quality control checks carried out by the Ministry of Environment, the application of the principle of "the polluter pays" by enforcing financial fees in case of violations, and through clear binding conditions for the investment of groundwater and surface water.
123- Completing the installation of sewage networks across Lebanon and linking them to water purification centers. Appropriate solutions should be found to deal with the waste that would be resulting from the purification process.
D- Public Maritime, River and Mountain Properties:
124- Ensuring that Lebanon's beaches form an uninterrupted line, demolishing concrete constructions to replace them with wood, and compelling touristic facilities to refine the waste water and rationalize the use of water.
125- Declaring public maritime, mountain and river properties as natural reserves and stop granting any new building or investment permits therein.
126- Adopting a national plan, in partnership with the private sector and donor countries, to reforest the Cedars line and to plant the strip line adjacent to the beaches.
127- Stopping and abolishing all delimitation processes affecting rural lands in order to prevent turning them into individual properties.
E- Air Quality:
128- Converting electricity production, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of air pollution, to gas which would significantly improve air quality.
129- Adopting an incentive customs policy for low-emission transport vehicles, and encouraging the importation of non-polluting buses.
130- Tightening conditions for the transport and storage of building materials to ensure air quality control and make sure that groundwater is not affected.
131- Increasing fines on factories that do not use filters to limit their toxic emissions, and equipping all plants with sensors that would be linked to a national online database monitoring the level of emissions around the clock and in real time.