Constitutional Council strikes down residency law for property investors

The article, dubbed the foreign property law, made its way to the Constitutional Council last month after Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel secured the signature of nine other lawmakers who opposed its ratification.
by Georgi Azar

14 May 2018 | 15:17

Source: by Annahar

  • by Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 14 May 2018 | 15:17

A file photo of Lebanon's Constitutional Council, established in 1993 (Annahar Photo)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's Constitutional Council struck down Monday Article 49 of the 2018 state budget which stipulated that any foreigner purchasing a property worth a least $300,000 would receive a residency along with his family.

The article, dubbed the foreign property law, made its way to the Constitutional Council last month after Kataeb MP Sami Gemayel secured the signature of nine other lawmakers who opposed its ratification. 

The 2018 state budget was ratified by Parliament in March following two expedited sessions, as pressure mounted on lawmakers ahead of the 'Cedre' donor conference in Paris which was held on April 6.

Opponents of the law argued that it would pave the way for collective naturalization of Syrian refugees, as the residency status acquired would remain valid as long as ownership of the property is retained. 

Lebanon is currently hosting some 1.5 million Syrian refugees who fled their war-torn homeland. 

In a statement released after submitting the motion on April 24, Gemayel expressed hope "in the Constitutional Council overturning this law and preventing such laws from coming into effect in the future." 

The motion was signed by Gemayel and MPs Samer Saadeh, Elie Marouni, Fadi Haber, Nadim Gemayel, Serge Torserikisan, Gilbert Zwein, Joseph Khalil, Dory Chamoun and Elie Aoun. 

Lebanon's Constitutional Council is a 10-member committee established under Article 19 of the Lebanese Constitution to supervise the constitutionality of laws and to arbitrate conflicts that arise from parliamentary and presidential elections.

The President, Speaker of the House and Prime Minister, along with any ten Members of Parliament, have the right to refer to this Council in case of any dispute.  


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