'Beirut Madinati' Urges Heavy Turnout, Calls on Voters to Grab 'Historic Chance'
The Beirut Madinati list of candidates on Friday urged a heavy turnout in the capital's municipal polls that will be held on Sunday, calling on voters to “seize the historic chance to change the fate of our city.”
“Following eight months of work and hope, we have managed to impose ourselves as serious contenders through a rhetoric and an approach that have elevated political action and obliged the rival lists to run according to electoral platforms,” the head of the list, Ibrahim Mneimneh, said at a press conference.
“Beirut Madinati has proved that it is a list of independents whose free decision stems from the people's will and who are committed to achieving the public interest, despite the malicious campaigns, rumors and lies that have been launched against us,” Mneimneh added.
Slamming the rival Beirutis List, which is backed by al-Mustaqbal movement and several parties that are represented in the government, Beirut Madinati warned that “such alliances that bring together the contradictions of the ruling class have proved their total failure throughout the years.”
“These contradictions will explode anew should this ruling class seize control of the municipal council,” the list cautioned.
“Today, we are before a historic chance to change the fate of our city and we call on the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections and the relevant Lebanese judicial authorities to confront any attempt to tamper with the impartiality of the electoral process,” Beirut Madinati added.
Arabic for "Beirut is my city", Beirut Madinati is a civic campaign of 24 candidates, equally split between men and women, and Muslims and Christians.
The list will face the formidable challenge of breaking through the country's entrenched political class in a bid to win all 24 seats in the capital's municipal council.
The campaign was founded in 2015 shortly after the closure of Lebanon's largest trash dump in Naameh, which sparked protests to demand not only an end to the growing piles of waste, but an overhaul of paralyzed government institutions.
Beirut Madinati seized on that frustration to put together a 10-point platform -- the campaign's magnum opus and a rallying call for young voters.
It includes plans to improve public transport in the notoriously traffic-ridden city, introduce more green spaces, make housing affordable and, of course, implement a lasting waste management solution.
The platform was developed by consulting residents of Beirut through open-houses and neighborhood visits, and "is centered around the daily life of the person, the citizen," says candidate Rana Khoury.