Beirut municipal elections will take place this weekend and I’m definitely voting for Beirut Madinati against the traditional coalition of ruling political parties that has been winning since 1998 and did absolutely nothing significant for the city.
I honestly didn’t care much about Beirut Madinati’s campaign at the beginning and didn’t even feel curious to know their candidates assuming they’re a bunch of attention seeking activists, but later noticed how wrong I was after they unveiled their list and showed how serious they are about their agenda.
However, that doesn’t mean I see them as perfect as some people portray them on social media, not due to anything they did wrong, but simply because some points in their electoral program don’t make much sense to me.
With the skyrocketing prices nowadays, it’s no longer easy to buy an apartment in Beirut. I’m an authentic Beiruti, I was born and raised in this city and never imagined that I will be living anywhere else, but I was unfortunately forced to move to Aramoun when I got married due to the prices increase after 2006. So talking about affordable housing in Beirut definitely relates to my problem and thousands others like me. Beirut Madinati is addressing this issue by promising affordable apartments.
Now let’s get real for a moment, the real estate market in Lebanon is a free one and the set prices follow the rules of supply and demand. It’s quite simple, there’s a huge demand for apartments in this city and little supply of constructed units so it only makes sense for the prices to be high. The only way for the municipality to provide these affordable apartments is by financing their construction itself and sell them at cost price, and in order to satisfy half of the demand the municipality will eventually have to turn into one giant construction company.
I simply don’t see it feasible to do. Apartments are also so expensive in many other cities around the world and you don’t see neither municipalities nor governments intervening, on the other hand the transportation system is enhanced so that people can adapt to living in surrounding areas. And this brings us to the next point…
Beirut Madinati wants to enhance the transportation system around the capital by introducing new bus lines and reorganizing the already operating buses, micros buses, and taxis.
This is seriously much needed in Beirut, and I would give up using my car during weekdays if there was a reliable system to get me in and out of the city. But I highly doubt the Beirut Madinati people have previously tried using public transportation and know how the buses around Beirut work because they apparently think their plan is going to be easy to implement.
Truth is that the transportation system in and out of Beirut is actually ruled by mafias. Those who use it know better about the clashes that happen between drivers over a certain line, and how the departure time of each bus is set deliberately by designated agents on the road in order to maximize the number of passengers. Needless to say, these mafias are backed by political parties, and everything that works the same way is very hard to fix. The ongoing case of illegal internet is the biggest example about that.
Do you seriously think the “van ra2em 4” gang is going to abide by any new system? Dream on.
Green Areas and Parking Spaces
This is not exclusive to Beirut Madinati, actually every candidate is promising more green areas and parking spaces around Beirut. Beirut Madinati is going the extra mile of promising a green space for each neighborhood in Beirut.
I seriously would like to know how on earth are we going to create a new green space in Tarik El-Jadida, Mar Elias, Ras El Nabeh, Basta, and other neighborhoods where there are barely any lot left that is large enough to accommodate a 150m2 apartment building. It would be good to support these promises with a map showing the locations of the parks to be.
As for parking spaces, I think it would be enough to just claim back the hijacked spaces from valet parking thugs in several areas of Beirut. That alone would be a major achievement for the new municipality.
I’m still voting for Beirut Madinati
Yes I do have some reservations over their electoral program, hell I even disliked some of their candidates, but I’m voting for them because I’m bored of the same party ruling the city for 18 years now with no significant achievements.
I’m voting for Beirut Madinati neither for an affordable apartment in Beirut, nor a better transportation system, I actually lost hope that things would get better in this corrupt country, I just want them to come in power because we have the right to try someone new and see how they are going to manage the available resources and proceed with new projects for the better of our city.
And you also have nothing to lose, it isn’t like the previous council did wonders to you, so give other people a chance and vote for Beirut Madinati.