A controversial decree granting citizenship to 375 foreigners sent ripples across Lebanon Friday after news emerged that President Michel Aoun signed the resolution along with Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and caretaker Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnouq.\u00a0\r\nThe decree, which was riddled with accusations of bribery, grants Lebanese citizenship to affluent applicants including Syrians, Palestinians and GCC nationals as well as businessmen from the Americas and Europe.\u00a0\r\nIt remains unclear whether the decree, which has yet to be published, was signed before or after the recent parliamentary elections when the Cabinet automatically enters the\u00a0caretaker period, thus casting doubt over its constitutionality.\r\nAoun\u2019s office has yet to comment on the matter, with sources telling Annahar that the decree might have been drafted before the May 6 elections while the Cabinet was still fully operational. Both Hariri and Mashnouq have also refrained from commenting up to this point.\r\nThe Lebanese Forces party, which saw their parliamentary bloc increase from 8 to 15 MPs in the last elections, vowed to appeal the decree with the Constitutional Council; a position echoed by Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt's Parliamentary bloc.\r\nKataeb MP Nadim Gemayel vowed that his party would\u00a0challenge the resolution, saying that he would file an appeal with the Constitutional Council to have it overturned. \u201cLebanon\u2019s citizenship is not up for sale,\u201d he said.\u00a0\r\nFellow party member Elias Hankache criticized what he perceives as a \u201csystematic campaign\u201d to naturalize refugees, saying that \u201cthere seems to be a methodical framework in place with Article 49 of the state budget, Syria\u2019s new property law, and now the naturalization decree."\r\nEarlier this month, the Kataeb party spearheaded a campaign to overturn Article 49 of the 2018 state budget, which stipulated that any foreigner purchasing a property worth at least $300,000 would be granted residency status.\r\nAfter successfully garnering the signatures of ten MPs, Lebanon\u2019s Constitutional Council struck down Article 49 as opponents argued that it would pave the way for collective naturalization.\u00a0\r\nMP Boutros Harb similarly blasted Aoun's move, arguing that it \u201cit is unacceptable for this naturalization decree to pass without accountability,\u201d while calling on the \u201cjudiciary to revoke it.\u201d\u00a0\r\nNaturalization has been a widely contested topic ever since the conclusion of the Lebanese civil war, mainly due to its implications on the country\u2019s delicate sectarian demographic balance. A naturalization decree that granted citizenship to tens of thousands of foreigners, mostly Muslims, in the 90's under then-President Elias Hrawi and Hariri's late father Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, had drawn sharp criticism from major Christian parties. Proponents of the decree argued that the Syrian regime, which had military forces deployed in Lebanon at the time, pushed for the decree to alter the country's demographic balance.\u00a0\r\nOf the 375 applicants granted citizenship under the latest decree, 260 are Christians while 115 are Muslims.