On Friday, June 15th, three Lebanese MPs from the Strong Lebanon Bloc of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) officially proposed a law to split Beirut’s municipality into two parts.
According to the law proposed by the FPM MPs, Nicolas Sehnaoui, Edgar Traboulsi, and Cesar Abi Khalil, the Eastern part of Beirut will be composed of Achrafieh, Al Saifi, Rmeil, Mdawar, and Al Marfa’a.
On the other hand, the Western part will be composed of Mina El Hosn, Bachoura, Ras Beirut, Msaytbeh, Zuqaq Al Blat, Al Mazra’a, and Ain Al Mraiseh.
This law was heavily criticized by many activists, including reformist MP Ibrahim Mneimneh who spoke out against it.
In his interview with Al Modon, MP Mneimneh stated that if the current municipality had a flaw then that flaw must be tackled instead of dividing it based on sectarian lines.
MP Sehnaoui argued that dividing the Municipality will not divide Beirut.
MP Ghassan Hasbani of the Lebanese Forces (LF) strongly agreed with Sehnaoui, claiming that dividing the Municipality will lead to better accountability and more responsibility.
Moreover, MP Hasbani refused to admit that dividing the Municipality had sectarian backgrounds, adding that even the Sunni residents of Eastern Beirut were unsatisfied with the Municipality’s performance.
This law brought back dark memories to many residents of Beirut. It reminded them of times when their city was divided by the Civil War into a Christian Eastern part and a Muslim Western part due to the sectarian violence that erupted.
Meanwhile, the current Municipality faces countless accusations of alleged corruption and money squandering, leaving the city in a state of despair.