Lebanese Member of Parliament, Neemat Frem, has recently announced his candidacy for the presidency, stating that he intends to bring about reform and lead a project of rescue for the country.
As a reformist candidate, Frem aims to tackle the political and economic crises that have plagued Lebanon in recent years, which have left the country in dire straits.
Frem’s announcement comes at a time when Lebanon is facing significant challenges, including a severe economic crisis, soaring inflation, and a political deadlock that has left the country without a functioning government for years.
Frem’s project of rescue is aimed at addressing these challenges and bringing the country back on track towards stability and growth.
“I am a reformist presidential candidate with a project of salvation and unification up my sleeve,” the lawmaker told Kuwaiti Al-Anba newspaper.
“The country does not need a president of coincidence, but a head of state with a clear mission and a unifying project based on building the state institutions so that they redraw the future of the Lebanese,” he said.
“If we do not commit to electing a president of the republic, designating a prime minister and forming a government, — whereby voting should be for the unifying mission and project the president and the government carry –, we will then face complete chaos and undesired consequences, which are a stone’s throw away,” he warned.
“We have reached a tipping point and a moment of truth in our nation. People are hungry, in pain, and emigrating; institutions are agonizing; Lebanon is dying,” he deplored.
“What I am proposing is based on determining a common ground among the political groups and societal components, in order to reach an agreement and then embark on the rescue operation and exit the crisis,” he explained.
“The election of a president of the republic paves the way for ending failure, which has for long been the name of the political game, and for stepping into a new era,” he continued.
“We have to be open if we are truly ready to admit, as political groups and societal components, that we want to live together,” he said, stressing the necessity of addressing all concerns and of acting responsibly in order to rebuild the Lebanese state and its institutions.
Tackling the common ground he touts, Frem highlighted the importance of building this ground on the basis of the social contract in tandem with clinching the national contract.
“We shall then endorse the required structural issues, such as the expansive decentralization, the establishment of a senate, the independence of the judiciary, the vote law and the national security policy.”
“Just like our national contract, our social contract should not be based on the sharing of quotas, but on complementarity, productivity, and the simulation of all aspirations and concerns, under the ceiling of coexistence,” he underlined.
“This is the project of rescue, and what matters is a prior agreement over it and over the personality who is qualified for conducting this rescue mission,” he said.
“What is needed is a president driven by a mission and carrying a project, a president who can reassure the Lebanese, the Arabs and the international community, and who is capable of sparking the required positive shock based on his ethics on one hand, and his reliance on his people’s trust on the other,” he added.
He believes that the president of Lebanon should possess a comprehensive understanding of the delicate balances and national constants that the country faces. In addition to this, the president must have exceptional communication and persuasion skills to bridge gaps between the Lebanese people. The president must also be adept at managing change, rebuilding institutions, and organizing and activating their structures with maximum efficiency and productivity.
“The parliamentary blocs are the ones who nominate (a president), and my name is on the table. I consider myself a point of convergence and at a demarcation line between the world of economy and institutions’ building on one hand, and the world of public affairs and politics on the other,” he said.
“The responsibility of salvation falls upon everybody’s shoulder; it is not restricted to one sect or one camp. Addressing the concerns of all the national components is the responsibility of each and every sect and camp,” he concluded.
Frem is the chariman and CEO of INDEVCO Group, one of Lebanon’s biggest companies. He served as MP between 2018-2020 after which he resigned in protest of the government’s negligence shortly after the Beirut port blast.
In 2021, he launched Project Watan, a political movement and initiative to “shape a new creative identity for Lebanon through large-scale reforms and serious plans for political, social, cultural and economic development.”
In May 2022, he was reelected as an Independent MP for the Maronite seat in the Keserwen and Byblos constituency.