BEIRUT — Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) leader Gebran Bassil stressed again on Saturday the importance of approving administrative decentralization and a trust fund to manage state assets.
During a visit to the Bekaa region, which is expected to last two days, Bassil outlined his case for applying administrative decentralization and approving a trust fund.
Bassil made his remarks in front of the economic bodies of Central Bekaa and Zahle, which he met at the Park Hotel in Chtoura. He said that introducing decentralization would allow regions to keep pace with development without being tied down by a return to the legislative and executive authorities. Bassil added that administrative decentralization will allow each region "to assume its economic role."
He also argued that without a trust fund to manage state assets, "no one will come t0 invest in Lebanon" and said that the "value of the fund preserves state property and increases its value."
Bassil also visited the Catholic Archeparchy of Zahle, where he said that "the country's situation requires us to look forward to the program of the next president" and added that the FPM presented a paper listing the presidential priorities.
"We can agree on the [paper's] provisions to secure a program in which the next president will succeed," Bassil noted.
Despite supporting IMF senior official Jihad Azour, alongside opposition groups and the Lebanese Forces, for the Lebanese presidency, the FPM has said in recent months that the party is ready to support any candidate for the presidency, including Marada leader Sleiman Frangieh (a political rival of the FPM and Hezbollah’s preferred future president), if Hezbollah and its camp commit to implementing two key measures: extensive administrative and financial decentralization, and a trust fund to manage state assets.
This bargain is part of an ongoing dialogue between the FPM and Hezbollah, which has yet to produce tangible results.
Some 12 parliamentary sessions dedicated to appointing a new president since September 2022 have ended in failure, with no president elected due to a lack of agreement among local political groups.
Both Hezbollah and the opposition have failed to garner enough votes for their respective preferred candidates to be elected.