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    » 01/29/2014, 00.00

    LEBANON

    Maronite Patriarch: Lebanon needs a president



    Fearful of political chaos and critical of those who want a divided Lebanon and are working against the country's unity, Card Beshara Al-Rahi calls for a speedy election. For him, "the Arab Spring will blossom only through Lebanon."

    Beirut (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Card Beshara Al-Rahi, Patriarch of the Maronite Church, in an interview yesterday with Lebanese daily As Safir, said that the election of a new president, national unity and respect for the constitution are some of some of the urgent issues the country must address. Attempts to "postpone the presidential elections", in his view, would be like "death."

    Deadlocked for the past eight months because of intra-Muslim divisions between Shias and Sunnis over the war in Syria, the country has seen its political divisions spill over into acts of violence in Tripoli (northern Lebanon) and the capital Beirut.

    "The problem is that everyone wants to divide the country according to his perspective instead of becoming as one," Card al-Rahi said.

    The cardinal's appeal is first and foremost for his fellow Christians, who represent about 40 per cent of the population, many of them living and still moving abroad as a result of extremism and political crisis at home.

    "Christians should play their important role in Lebanon and the Arab world," he explained for the "Arab spring will only bloom through Lebanon."

    In addition, he warns that the Arab world is fragmenting and Christians are in danger of slipping into a "sectarian trap," which he believes would mean their "end."

    Set for May 2013, Lebanon's parliamentary and presidential elections were postponed several times because of the war in Syria and mutual vetoes by the country's two main political blocs: the 8 March coalition, led by the Shia-dominated Hizbollah (in alliance with the Free Patriotic Movement of Maronite General Michel Aoun); and the predominant Sunni and Christian Maronite 14 March movement.

    Michel Suleiman is the outgoing president. He was elected in 2008 after a compromise deal between the country's various political and religious factions.

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    See also

    07/07/2014 LEBANON
    For Patriarch Rahi, parliament should meet every day until it elects a new president
    The prelate makes the request to the parliamentary speaker. Some people "are hindering the election, directly or indirectly"; others "are supporting them in and outside the country"; all are doing "serious harm to Lebanon."

    26/05/2008 LEBANON
    Lebanon taking advantage of the emerging new regional order
    In his inaugural speech the new head of state addresses all burning issues that affect the Lebanese, from the Taif Agreement to citizenship for immigrants, from the weapons of the resistance to the international tribunal, without false promises or any subterfuge.

    07/05/2007 LEBANON
    Constitution cannot be changed to elect president, says Sfeir
    During celebrations for Our Lady of Lebanon, Maronite patriarch demands respect for the state’s basic law. He says he is ready to announce a ‘consensus-based’ choice for president if there are guarantees that his choice “is taken into account.” Aoun confirms his candidacy, adds: “I will not support any other person. I will not agree on anyone.”

    24/09/2007 LEBANON
    Parliament to meet tomorrow, but no vote on new Lebanese president
    Finding agreement on a name should be the first order of business of the first session of parliament after months of inactivity. Majority MPs announce their presencet, so do those from Amal. Hizbollah states it will participate only if an agreement has already been reached. Parliamentary Speaker Berri might visit Patriarch Sfeir, who renewed his appeal to the parties not to destroy the country.

    20/01/2016 13:24:00 LEBANON
    Aoun-Geagea alliance generates shock and hope

    The leader of the Lebanese Forces supports the candidacy for president of his former enemy. Lebanese Forces and the Change and Reform bloc have the largest number of Christian MPs. Maronite Patriarchate of Bkerke is "happy and relieved". The Lebanese Parliament has failed to elect a president since May 2014. Some Christians and Muslims resist.





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