MP Robert Fadel quits parliament over absence of Christians in new Tripoli municipal council


Robert FadelIn another surprising development Tripoli MP Robert Fadel unexpectedly announced his resignation Monday, hours after the surprising results of the city’s local elections held one day earlier indicating that no Christians will be represented in the new municipal council.

Fadel, an independent March 14 figure, had backed the coalition list that took only six seats against the 18 captured by the list supported by resigned Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi’s list.

“More than one essential component was absent or marginalized from the new municipal council,” Fadel said in an email statement.

“I warned against compromising the representation of anyone in our society ,” he added. “The law governing municipal elections needs to be looked into, so they do not inadvertently turn into a source of strife or elimination (of any sect).”

In a news conference earlier in the day, Rifi had vowed to preserve Tripoli’s co-existence, despite his list falling short of a sufficient Christian and Alawite representation.

“We are proud that Tripoli is a city that has mosques and churches and we preserve its co-existence,” he said.

He added that he had approached his rivals to suggest putting the same Christian and Alawite candidates on both their lists, but that they refused. Nonetheless, Rifi said his list was representative of all sects in the city.

However, none of those candidates won, meaning the incoming municipal council will have no minority sect members. The current municipal council has three Christians.

Members from the Alawite-majority neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen protested the results earlier Monday, calling on the Interior Ministry not to recognize them.

Robert Fadel founded Bader, a non-governmental organisation which supports young Lebanese entrepreneurs. His wife Hala established the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition, which also supports start-up projects in Lebanon. In 2010, Robert and Hala Fadel launched the Maurice Fadel Prize (in memory of Robert Fadel’s father Maurice, who died in 2009.