BEIRUT – A Lebanese presidential decree to naturalize hundreds of foreigners has ignited a row over who deserves citizenship in this tiny Mediterranean country.
Among those to be granted Lebanese citizenship are Iraqi Vice President Iyad Allawi and other regional elites.
News of the decree — which was signed in secret in mid-May but leaked to the public two weeks later — has fueled the perception that citizenship, like so many other liberties in this country, is a privilege reserved for the wealthy.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri has defended the decree, saying it is the president's constitutional right to grant citizenship to whomever he pleases.
Meanwhile, Lebanese women married to foreigners don't have the right to pass on their nationality to their children. And one in four people is a refugee.