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Oct 15, 2020
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Lebanese Politician Naji Hayek: There Is No Shame In Talking About The Establishment Of A Federation In Lebanon

#8380 | 02:32
Source: OTV (Lebanon)

Lebanese politician Naji Hayek of the Free Patriotic Movement said in an October 15, 2020 interview on OTV (Lebanon) that the Lebanese people should unashamedly talk about establishing a federation, and he described its benefits. He said that its benefits include decentralization of administration and economics, as well as the institution of local and regional laws. See MEMRI TV clip no. 8020 for excerpts from another interview in which Hayek advocated for Lebanon adopting a federal government and MEMRIT V clip 7294, where he discussed the refugee crisis in Lebanon.

Naji Hayek: "Whenever we talk about a federation, people say: 'No guys, please don't talk about that...' Why not? There are people who want to join Greater Syria, and some people say they want to be part of whatever nation, so why am I not allowed to talk about a federation?

"I am calling on all Lebanese people who believe in a certain way of life to call for the establishment of a federation without being ashamed. I specifically call on leaders and intellectuals in our region to talk about a federation.

[...]

"Do you know what the slogan of the separatists in Quebec is? 'Say yes, and it will be possible.' So with regard to federation, let's 'say yes, and it will be possible.' The backbone of a federation is a decentralized administration. Its added benefit is its ability to pass laws...

"For example, [let's say] some areas in Lebanon are under a federal government. If a woman wants to go [swimming] in a hijab in my area, I won't let her... I'll start with my area, not in Tyre... Meaning that I can enforce a certain law in my region. If you prohibit the sale of alcohol in a certain area, you are imposing a federation.

"In my opinion, the importance goes far beyond economic and administrative decentralization. The decentralization makes it so that people can't prevent you from doing things. That's it. The rest is just details.

"Another thing that I think would make people happy is that you could establish election laws however you want in your region, and I can establish election laws however I want in my region. You can have a 2% VAT, and I can have a 12% VAT. You establish your economy however you see fit. The difference between a federation and administrative decentralization is not a big difference, and does not indicate a fracture [in society]."

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