Frem: Mikati has the opportunity to bring back Lebanon to its Arab environment, our electoral alliances will be revolutionary and reformist

Resigned MP Neemat Frem, head of “Project Watan’s” Executive Board, said that “Prime Minister Najib Mikati has the duty, opportunity, and possibility to restore the Lebanese-Arab relations and bring back Lebanon to its Arab environment.” He also called for “averting any politicization of the ration card," and stressed that “supporting education and hospital sectors is today’s priority.”

He revealed, in a statement, that his next electoral alliances “will be deeply revolutionary and reformist, with a clean history”. He emphasized as well "the necessity of solving the issue of Hezbollah's weapons, while addressing the financial file," saying that "the solution must be comprehensive, starting with the modern state and reaching national security."

He said: “It is too early to judge this government; I do not have any negative impression to begin with and I respect Prime Minister Najib Mikati. I consider him an old friend, so I prefer to wait until I see his approach in the difficult circumstances Lebanon is going through, and whether the [government] is able to arrange priorities according to their importance”.

“Our main concern is to stop the economic, social and political heresies in Lebanon, and this will be effectively reflected in the way we spend the financial support that we will receive, according to which priorities, and whether these priorities are populist or structural,” he added.

He went on to say: “Are these priorities going to be structural, despite their lack of popularity, because they will save Lebanon? Or will we only have in mind the upcoming elections and the ways to get the highest percentage of votes, without thinking about the future of our generations?”

Frem defined these priorities as below:

Firstly: The education sector: this sector must be supported and assisted, in order for schools and universities to reopen their doors for all students, especially after a two-year closure.

This will be realized through paying tuition fees and ensuring fuel and electricity. Such issue is crucial, especially that the academic year has begun. Education is more important than eating and drinking because of its great impact on Lebanon’s present and future. Families are leaving Lebanon for they refuse to lose their future. If our schools and universities remain closed for the third year in a row, the future of our children will be lost forever.

Secondly: Hospitalization and medical sector: Hospitals in particular and medical sector in general must be supported, and a fund should be created as soon as possible to find a method to assist patients so that they can receive treatment on the one hand, and to help hospitals to continue providing their medical services on the other.

Thirdly: The ration card: It is not permitted that people accuse the authorities of influencing the elections outcome by starving them and then ensuring their votes in exchange for the ration card. 

Eliminating this pretext is possible through averting the politicization of Central Inspection’s Impact Platform, in order to have a transparent ration card that has nothing to do with politics.

Fourthly: Parliamentary elections: The upcoming parliamentary elections must be prepared in a professional and transparent way, and should be used to convey a message to the international community and the Lebanese voters, as their wrong votes will jeopardize their future and the future of their children.

Frem called on the new ministers to "work with a clear conscience and find solutions to the living conditions, because only a psychologically comfortable citizen can hear the voice of his true conscience in the parliamentary elections, and everything that will happen in the future will then be the responsibility of the people."

"People will not forget if we do not protect the ration card from politicization, even if they are subjected to pressure during the elections; the gap will remain between them and the representatives they have elected, " he emphasized.

He continued: "I will give the government a period of two months as a ‘space of hope’ before I judge their competences. We hope this government will carry out structural reforms that qualify us to negotiate with the International Monetary Fund, and will fully apply existing laws, starting with the electricity file to englobe all the remaining issues related to daily life. If the government does not put all these files on the right track and fails to draw up and start implementing a plan to negotiate with the IMF, then nothing more could be done.”

Frem pointed out that "the road ahead is long and full of pitfalls, but starting negotiations with the IMF in a positive way will put us on the right track towards rescue. However, if we do not do what is required, we will move towards chaos, self-security and the reconfiguration of Lebanon with another map and with different components. The second scenario will be painful for Lebanon and I cannot imagine it without bloodshed. So, we choose the first scenario, but without having to return to the Middle Ages, to a country without schools, hospitals, electricity, banks, or a free economy…”

Concerning “Project Watan”, Frem explained that seminars are being held to effectively demonstrate each idea and point of several topics. “We have completed studies about the ‘Modern Civil State,’ ‘Expanded Decentralization,’ and ‘Electricity,’ and we will start discussing them. We are also working on organizing the elections and selecting the candidates who will represent “Project Watan” in various Lebanese regions,” he underlined. 

The resigned MP expected that the elections would take place “on time according to the current law,” noting that “the government’s formation increased the hope to hold them.”

Regarding the upcoming electoral alliances, Frem revealed that “Project Watan” was currently studying the possible alliances with a number of candidates from the revolution groups, civil society, and the Kataeb Party.

These alliances “will be deeply revolutionary and reformist, and with a clear history,” he said, before expecting the presidential elections to take place on time. "If the parliamentary elections are held, there is great hope that the presidential elections will follow, especially after the government formation."

Arab countries

On another note, Frem highlighted the importance of “restoring relations between Lebanon and the Arab countries to save the country. This is the role of the government. Prime Minister Najib Mikati has the duty, opportunity, and possibility to restore the Lebanese-Arab relations. I guess this will be his top priority,” he said.

He added: “If we prove that there is a state that protects its borders and fulfills its promises and commitments, we will gain the world's trust and double our chance in reviving these relations and returning Lebanon to its Arab environment.”

As for the Lebanese-Syrian relationship, he considered it a geographical one. “Geography is fate, and we must deal with this reality in a rational manner, based on our concept of Lebanon’s independence, sovereignty and neutrality.”

He then stressed "the need for Lebanon to regain the world's confidence and respect, and to manage its crises without external interference."

He finally declared that the only legitimate weapons belong to the Lebanese army exclusively, considering that "it is about time that Hezbollah hand over their weapons," and that “this issue should be addressed along with the financial file."

“The solution must be comprehensive, from the modern state to national security, passing through Hezbollah’s weapons,” he concluded.

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