11/14/2016, 14.57
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Patriarch al-Rahi calls for an “inclusive government” based on Lebanon’s constitution and National Pact

In his Sunday homily, the cardinal appealed to political leaders to form a government that is “consensual and effective”. Slamming patronage, he hopes to see the new cabinet sworn in before Independence Day. Prime Minister designate Hariri ended his first round of consultations. One goal is to overcome divisions over the distribution of cabinet posts and mandates.

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros al-Rahi has called for an "inclusive government” to represent all of the country’s groups when it takes office, hopefully before Lebanon’s Independence Day on 22 November.

In the appeal he made yesterday in his homily at Sunday Mass, the cardinal also asked the country's parliament and political leaders to make a further effort so that President Michel Aoun can reach a compromise in setting up the new government.

“The Lebanese want the anticipated new government to be an inclusive, consensual and effective government,” al-Rahi told the faithful in his Sunday Mass sermon.

For the prelate, the new cabinet should be a “government that unites rather than divides, a government that shares responsibilities with the spirit of the National Pact and the constitution, not with the mentality of the distribution of shares or clinging to a certain ministerial portfolio”.

The Lebanese also “hope it will be formed before Independence Day so that their joy would be complete,” al-Rahi added.

Aoun’s election as president and Saad Hariri’s selection as the new prime minister have renewed hope in the country’s future.

However, Lebanon’s new leaders face many challenges, from a stagnant economy to a million Syrian refugees who arrived in recent.

These are serious and difficult problems to tackle for an often waning political class whose members are focused on personal interests and have been unable so far to deal with the country’s crises adequately.

Meanwhile, negotiations to form the new government continue. According to the latest rumours, the cabinet should include 24 ministers and not 30 with a confusion over portfolios as previously suggested.

President Aoun is said to approve strongly this criterion because he wants a “government that can achieve maximum productivity in a short time schedule.”

Last week, Prime Minister designate Hariri concluded the first round of consultations with the various parliamentary groups and began working on choosing his cabinet.

One obstacle to overcome is distributing portfolio and mandates, an issue that is still at the centre of intense negotiations. This process could last months, especially with regard to the key positions of power like Interior, Defence and Energy and Finance.

At the same time, the new president wants, among other things, a new, more inclusive election law, to represent the country’s different groups.

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