In full: France’s draft proposal for new Lebanon government

The draft proposal obtained by Al Jazeera demands change in four major areas including introducing a number of reforms.

Fresh Protests In Beirut As New PM Proposed
An anti-government protester holds a Lebanese flag which has had the usual red stripes replaced with black as a sign of mourning, during a demonstration on September 1, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon [Sam Tarling/Getty Images]

French President Emmanuel Macron headed to Lebanon this week for the second time since a massive August 4 explosion devastated Beirut and fuelled calls for political change.

Macron arrived in the capital on Monday with the aim of pushing Lebanon’s sectarian leaders to find consensus over reforms and over the need to end decades of corruption and mismanagement. He pledged to hold an aid conference for the economically-devastated nation at the end of October if reforms are commenced.

Since Macron’s last visit two days after the explosion, Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s flailing government resigned and a new Prime Minister, Mustapha Adib, has been appointed by the country’s establishment.

Ahead of Macron’s high-level talks on Tuesday, the French embassy distributed a “draft programme” to the heads of Lebanon’s political blocs, which was obtained by Al Jazeera.

Below is what it said in full:

First: The COVID-19 pandemic and the humanitarian situation

The Lebanese government will make fighting this pandemic a priority:

–          Preparing and disseminating a pandemic control plan that includes support for the most vulnerable and marginalised people.

–          Enhancing social protection to benefit the people.

Second: The aftermath of the August 4 explosion and the rebuilding of Beirut

The Lebanese cabinet will be working on the following fronts:

International humanitarian aid

Facilitating the execution and delivery of humanitarian aid provided by the international community in an urgent, transparent and effective executive plan – noting that the United Nations is coordinating this aid – according to the recommendations of the International Conference on Assistance and Support to Beirut and the Lebanese People on August 9. This shall be achieved through full cooperation with the United Nations, especially through sharing information and needs assessment.

Governance of international aid

Specific governance will be put in place for the delivery of international humanitarian aid – both that given in response to the Beirut explosion, as well as aid in support of structural reforms – to ensure its delivery to the people in a transparent and traceable manner under the auspices of the United Nations.

Commencing rebuilding based on the recommendations of the report prepared by the World Bank in cooperation with the European Union and the United Nations (Beirut Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment).

The rehabilitation of Beirut port

Launching tenders for proposals immediately in accordance with impartial procedures.

Impartial investigation: Conducting an impartial and independent investigation within a reasonable timeline that enables the full truth to be established regarding the causes of the explosion and supported by Lebanon’s international partners in the areas of cooperation and expertise.

Third: Reforms

          The government will conduct a regular exchange of views with civil society regarding its programme and the reforms it contains.

          Immediate resumption of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.

          Rapid approval of the preventive measures requested by the International Monetary Fund. This includes legislation related to capital control and the auditing of Banque du Liban’s accounts (by immediately initiating the audit that Oliver and Wyman have been commissioned to do).

          To this end, a schedule for the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund will be approved and published within 15 days (see below).

  1. Electricity sector

Immediate measures (within one month):

          Appointing officials to the electricity sector regulatory authority within the framework of law 2002/462 without amendments, while providing this authority with the actual resources to carry out its duties.

          Launching tenders for offers related to gas-powered plants, which are considered a priority to reduce the use of generators.

          Abandoning the Selaata power plant project in its current form.

Short-term measures (within three months):

          Announcing a timetable to increase tariffs gradually provided that this affects the most financially capable consumers at first.

  2. Regulating the transfer of capital

Immediate measures (within one month):

          Parliament must complete and approve a draft law regarding capital control immediately and over four years. This law must be approved by the different departments of the International Monetary Fund.

  3. Governance, and judicial and financial regulation

Immediate measures (within one month):

          Organising a second meeting of the local follow-up commission for the CEDRE conference and launching a website dedicated to all updates related to the conference in all its parts (project components, financing and reforms), according to the terms of reference for the CEDRE follow-up.

          The actual launch of a full audit of Banque du Liban accounts.

          Executing judicial appointments (judges of Supreme Judicial Council), financial appointments (members of the Capital Markets Authority), and sectoral appointments (the regulatory bodies of the electricity, telecommunications and civil aviation sectors). The appointments will be according to transparent criteria based on competence.

          Parliament’s approval of a proposed law on the independence of the judiciary.

          Launching a study on public administration by an independent international institution (the World Bank or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) with a specialised office.

  4. Combatting corruption and smuggling

Immediate measures (within one month):

          Appointing the members of the national anti-corruption commission and giving it the necessary capabilities to carry out the tasks entrusted to it and actually launching its work.

          Launching the process of acceding to the treaty on fighting corruption worldwide issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 1997.

          Immediate application of customs reforms.

Short-term measures (within three months)

          Establishing control gates and strengthening supervision at Beirut and Tripoli ports, Beirut airport and at other border checkpoints, and reduce transactions according to the deadlines followed by the administration.

  5. Public procurement reform

Immediate measures (within one month):

          Parliament will prepare, adopt and implement a bill on public procurement reform.

          The government will grant the Higher Council for Privatisation (HC4P) the human and financial capabilities necessary to carry out its tasks.

  6. Public Finance

          Preparing and voting on a corrective finance bill that explicitly clarifies the status of accounts for the year 2020 within one month.

          Prepare and approve a harmonised budget for the year 2021 (before the end of 2020).

Fourth: Elections

–          The government will organise new legislative elections within a maximum period of one year.

          The electoral law will be reformed to fully include civil society, allowing Parliament to be more representative of the aspirations of civil society.

Source: Al Jazeera