Preparations for the Municipal elections in Lebanon started, especially that it is a due date that cannot bear any delay or procrastination. If the local authorities failed, or lost their legitimacy, people’s direct services, and development in their daily lives would stop as well.
Many are still worried that the government will cancel or postpone the municipal elections, and that it will come up with excuses so that these elections are not conducted on their legal date. All these worries are due to the desire among a number of political powers, pushing towards the cancellation of this due date, especially that many of them are suffering from divisions, and deterioration in their popularity, due to their political confusion.
We call that the Municipal elections remain as they were in the last two decades; an occasion for working on strengthening the role of municipalities in the management of local development, and mobilizing the active forces in society, which lazing and relaxing hit, due to the absence of their role, and their reluctance to push their forces towards bold engagement in municipal work on all levels.
There is a need for putting integrated and sustainable development programs, which tackle the economic and social development, along with the infrastructure, Urban planning, lands arrangement, in addition to health prevention, treatment and recovery. The programs should also tackle the environment and natural resources protection, along with rationalizing their use, water resources, energy, agricultural land, forests, sea and coastal areas, education and culture, heritage, sports and entertainment.
These elections should also focus on the role of youth, women, along with the artistic and scientific sector, of engineers, doctors, socialists and economists, as well as environmentalists. All these people should participate by electing, standing for elections, and presenting their election program.
There should also be focus on the political -developmental aspect of the municipal work, knowing that development is a political act. It is better to stay away from municipal elections with considerations such as family, as the political forces please, aiming to drown us in such elections.
Working on opening up to the broadest coalitions for the local community forces, without relying on the monopoly of municipal work from the dominant political forces in every area.
Working on regaining the municipalities’ financial rights, which enhances their administrative independence as an elected local authority, without subjecting it to the authority of any employee.
Enhancing transparency in municipal work, and improving the relation with citizens, especially through their participation in decision making, and monitoring.
Integrated waste management, which is safe on the environmental, health level, and cost. This could be done through implementing ongoing awareness programs and trainings on decreasing the quantities of wastes, household waste sorting, establishing, operating, and improving recycling and treatment plants, and manufacturing the rest of the wastes to become usable or to get rid of them in a safe manner.
Developing environmental tourism, along with cultural and religious tourism, and improving the natural and historic sites, along with developing the craft industry (glass, metal, wood, and stone crafts).
Developing arts, ranging from painting, sculpture, music, singing, acting, theater, cinema, radio-TV, digital journalism, photography, and videography.
Openness to cooperation, integration, and coordination with the surrounding and nearby municipalities, until reaching regional development integration, for the benefit of the whole region, all the nearby regions, and all of Lebanon.
Translated from Arabic by Zeina Nasser