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Recently, Bilal Hamad, the head, or mayor, of the Municipality of Beirut, made statements defending his record.As the mayor rightly complains, the mohafez indeed holds executive authority over the office of the mayor. Yet this statement omits the fact that the mayor is an elected authority, representing a constituency of hundreds of thousands of city dwellers. This requires the mayor to step outside private discussions behind closed doors to work within the public realm, rallying stakeholders to protect the future of the city from the private interests of the few. Would Parliament have continued to pass laws increasing land exploitation in prime sea-front areas had the municipality alerted city dwellers that Beirut would soon become a city without access to the sea?However, the mayor has done little to marshal this for the benefit of Beirut's inhabitants.
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