General definition of the federation
The idea to establish federations of municipalities goes back to 1965 when Prime Minister Taqi ed Din el Solh, as Interior Minister, had called for a national congress on the Municipalities in Lebanon. In 1977 the new Law on Municipalities with Article 114 was publicized calling for the establishment of federations to undertake projects that exceed the financial possibilities of a single municipality. These projects may be in the form of large scale urban planning, fire fighting, management of slaughterhouses, waste management, improvement of sewerage, road safety, etc...
Federations or unions are created by decree, or at the request of Municipalities (optional) or on top of the initiative of Minister of Interior (as necessary). They can constitute an unlimited number of cities and enjoy a legal status with financial and administrative autonomy. They exercise their powers in accordance with the Law on Municipalities (Article 114).
Federations of Municipalities in Lebanon
Three years after the promulgation of the Law of Municipalities, 6 federations were successively established (Kesrouane, Saida, West Bekaa, Chouf, Matn Ech Chemali and Es Sahli Oual Aoussat). The first federation was founded as the Federation of Municipalities of Al Kesrouane Fatouh, five months after the promulgation of the law, and it included all municipalities in the kadaa. Most federations formed at the time, were in areas near the capital of the country which wanted to take full advantage of these local power.
The current number of federations is 37. Note that 17 federations have emerged after the municipal elections of 1998, reflecting a genuine desire to restart these local institutions, and refers mainly to the return of the municipal culture.
Structure of the federation
The authority of the federation is like that of the municipality divided between the decision-making authority held by the chairmen of municipal councils and the executing authority held by the president of the federation.
1. Decision making power
A. The council of the federation
The power of decision lies at the council of the federation, which is composed of chairpersons of municipalities’ members of the Federation, or elected and appointed by the presidents of the concerned municipalities for the full mandate (Art. 119). The mandate of the council of the federation ends with the completion of the mandates of the municipal councils (Art. 115 & 117).
B. The authority of the Council of the Federation
The Council of the Federation include:
Discuss projects of common interest to municipalities in the federation.
Develop plans, prepare specifications and decide on expropriation necessary for the implementation of projects of common interest to municipalities in the federation.
Establish the budget for the federation.
Decide on vacant posts in the federation.
Decide on the general urban plan of the federation.
Decisions taken by the Federation Council are binding for member municipalities (art. 128). It is subject to the same rules that govern the actions of municipal councils (art. 129).
2. The executive power of the federation
The president of the federation elected by majority vote of the board, holds the executive power. He is assisted by a team of officials, headed by a manager, this team is responsible for public health, engineering, administration of finance and the municipal police (Art. 121 to 125).
2. Financing of the Federation
In general the financing of the federation is composed of:
10% of actual income of each member municipality.
An additional percentage of the budget of the member municipalities, which benefit from a collective project. The percentage is determined by the Council of the Federation with the consent of the Minister of the Interior.
Funds, grants and other income allocated by public property of the federation.
Revenue allocated to the federations by the autonomous fund of municipalities.
Funds allocated by the state budget to the federations for development projects.
Donations and personal wills.