BEIRUT: Ever since he was young, a parliamentarian was something Sami Fatfat had dreamt of becoming. Now, this proves to have been more than a childhood dream, but a motivation that led him to become the youngest MP in Lebanon.
Fatfat comes from a political family that has had its share of influence in Lebanon and more specifically in Northern Lebanon.
His father, Ahmad Fatfat, was a parliamentarian and former minister of youth and sports in the cabinet of former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and an interim interior minister. So, naturally, Sami became heavily interested in politics. He felt a national pride and a duty to help his people, especially in his region.
Fatfat guarded himself with the information needed in politics from his household to be able to grow and serve his politics, while always envisioning himself running for parliament at the right time.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics and then a master’s degree in business, Fatfat worked for a few years in different organisations, then he ran his father’s office before running for the 2018 parliamentary elections.
“I can’t deny my father’s history in politics helped me win my seat, but I also had to work very hard to prove my competency, especially because I was young,” he said “I had focused on the aspect that the prior political class wasn’t as efficient as it should have been and that we needed new faces, preferably young ones, to break the tension amongst politicians.” He added.
Fatfat further noted that the youth in politics have a stronger impact because of social media and because of a need for new and more modern faces. The youth are also 40% of society and they don’t have a dark history. This factor significantly contributed to the increased number of women and young MPs who ran for the 2018 parliamentary elections.
Fatfat has several main causes he’s currently fighting for. To begin with, developing Tripoli is a crucial cause that he wants to focus on. Tripoli has been affected tremendously by the spilling war in Syria, whether in terms of export and import, or securitization, which in turn affected tourism and sources of income.
He also believes that on a national level, there isn’t a proper and fair allocation of resources, since Tripoli has no proportional allocation of resources in comparison to other cities in Lebanon.
He also wants to highly focus on creating and implementing a wholistic respectable housing plan. He believes that the state should come up with a feasible and helpful housing plan that would help the Lebanese citizens, in addition to having stricter policies on its local banks on the implementation of housing plans.
Other issues are also on his list, like the voting age, Lebanese women's right to pass on their citizenship, and the creation of a regulatory system for legalizing cannabis cultivation and its production for medicinal use.
He then cites several barriers in the political system that might hinder his pathway to achieving his goals, and that may also hinder the political stability of Lebanon as a whole, one of which is the sectarian political system that was the aftermath of the Civil War. He believes this political system needs to be refurbished and updated.
Yet, Fatfat believes that the only way to change the system is not through a revolution or opposition, but from within the system itself, whereby one should infiltrate the system to change it.
As a piece of advice for young people who wish to pursue a career path in politics, Fatfat said that they must guard themselves with credible information, while always being open-minded and diplomatic.
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