Lebanon News

Merabi to quit Parliament over Akkar neglect

Akkar MP Moeen Merabi. (The Daily Star/Azakir)

BEIRUT: Akkar MP Moeen Merabi confirmed to The Daily Star Wednesday that he would quit Parliament next week if the state continued to neglect Akkar’s development.

Merabi said he would announce his resignation if Parliament failed to vote in favor of allocating special funds for the development of the district of Akkar in a legislative session Monday.

“I have decided to resign my post as a Parliament member because the region I represent in Parliament has been neglected for 62 years now,” said Merabi, who has been a member of Parliament since 2009.

The 53-year-old member of the Future Movement and March 14 activist voiced his anger at his allies within the coalition and March 8 for what he called their complete disregard for Akkar over the past six decades.

According to Merabi, the situation in Akkar has become unacceptable, with 63 percent of the population currently under the poverty line, and 41.5 percent unemployed.

“I was elected to work for the people, protect their rights and demand what they deserve. I cannot continue staring at this situation and doing nothing, like others,” said Merabi, adding that his move was directed against both March 14 and March 8.

“All I am asking is for Akkar to have its share of the state’s budget allocated for development,” Merabi added.

“While the state budget allocates $2.1 billion for development across the country, nothing goes to Akkar, despite its situation,” said Merabi who also said that Parliament should consider Akkar equal to south Lebanon, Bekaa, Beirut and other regions.

“There is no balanced development in Lebanon ... 90 percent of Akkar’s homes do not have water, and electricity hardly reaches the region,” he said.

Merabi said he would only back down from his decision to resign if Parliament decided to allocate funds to the region to help at least carry out some infrastructure and developmental work.

“In Akkar, a [public] clinic is better than the governmental hospital ... Akkar is the only region in the country where a Lebanese University doesn’t exist,” said Merabi, adding that the Council for Development and Reconstruction was responsible for not deliver development projects in the region.

Merabi also said that although the coastal region of Akkar enjoyed an abundance of fresh running water from three different rivers, it still suffered shortages, thanks to poor infrastructure.

“How is it possible that Energy Minister Gibran Bassil has not dedicated a project for building a dam for a vast area like Akkar, and instead lets the water go to waste into the sea?” asked Merabi.

Addressing his allies and MPs in Akkar, Merabi said it was time to end the injustice being done to Akkar.

“We want a nation of justice ... if the Parliament doesn’t move on this, I will resign and then the people will take to the streets,” Merabi added.

His ally and colleague within the Future Movement bloc, Akkar MP Khaled Daher, said he would stand by Merabi and he would not abandon him in his struggle to gain Akkar its rights.

“This is not a matter of one person, this issue concerns everyone in Akkar,” said Daher.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 01, 2012, on page 3.




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