18 December 2017
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 02/08/2016, 10.01


    Maronite Patriarch: Without a President, Lebanon is on brink of collapse

    Card. Rai makes fresh appeal for election of President of the Republic. The prelate denounces political and parliamentary factions who "impede" choice. Vacancy also concerns international diplomacy. UN special envoy: do not take the "stability" of the nation for granted. Parliament in session today.

    Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Religious leaders, international diplomats and civil society have launched a fresh appeal to the Lebanese Parliament to elect a new president, a position now vacant for over 20 months.

    In his Sunday homily Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai said that the people "deserve to live in a country that respects their rights." In recent weeks, the explicit support for the candidacy of former general Michel Aoun by the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea, had hoped - so far in vain - in a development of the situation.

    Returning to the failure to elect the head of state, Card. Rai addressed the  political and parliamentary factions "who for too long" have hindered the presidential election", to find an agreement to save a nation "on the brink of collapse". The country, he added, must seek "the common good" and respond "to the Constitution, the National Covenant (under which the presidency must go to a Maronite), and "the democratic systems adopted by Lebanon and mentioned in the preamble" of the Charter.

    Lebanon has been without a head of state since May 2014, when the term of outgoing President Michel Suleiman ended.  Since then the Parliament and the blocks within it have failed to reach consensus on the choice of his successor.

    An open clash between two rival fronts has prevented the election of the head of state: March 8 (Hezbollah Shiites, close to Iran) and the block of  March 14 (led by Saad Hariri, backed by Saudi Arabia).

    Parliament is due to be in session today. However, according to experts it will end with a new stalemate and President Nabih Berri will be forced to once again postpone the vote for lack of quorum.

    The failure to appoint a new president in Lebanon also concerns the international community. The UN special coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag sounded the alarm, saying that it may already be too late to save the country.

    The diplomat notes that "it is hard to" observe "the wear and tear" caused to the institutions and to the national economy, but the effects are already present and in the long run will become more and more evident. "The stability of Lebanon – she adds - should not be taken for granted."

    The UN special coordinator also clarified that "external diplomatic pressure", in particular the United Nations, is unwelcome and the Lebanese Parliament alone must reach agreement. The presidency is an important position "for the Christian component" and "for the whole country." "It is important for Lebanon - said Sigrid Kaag - not to waste too much time, because it could pay a very high price at all levels".


    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    05/08/2008 LEBANON
    Approved in Beirut, a government platform that avoids "sensitive" questions
    A unanimous vote was taken late yesterday evening. On Friday, parliamentary scrutiny begins, and the confidence vote should take place on Monday. The opposition has not accepted any formula entrusting the state with primacy in the matters of sovereignty and defense.

    10/05/2008 LEBANON
    An uneasy calm reigns in Beirut; the international community backs the government
    18 are believed to have died in the clashes over the past two days. The United Nations security council and the Arab League are meeting. Only Syria's Assad speaks of a "domestic Lebanese matter".

    01/06/2006 LEBANON
    Geagea: Bid to resolve Lahoud, Hezbollah issues on 8 June

    Card. Sfeir expressed hope that the new electoral law will allow for more representative voting. According to press speculation, the law will provide for 77 MPs elected by a majority and 51 on a proportional basis.

    31/10/2016 16:06:00 LEBANON
    Michel Aoun gets the necessary votes to become president of Lebanon



    09/05/2007 LEBANON
    Bishops against constitutional changes to presidential election process
    At the end of their monthly meeting, Maronite prelates express their gratitude to the Pope for his closeness to Lebanon. They voice concern about the country’s deteriorating economic situation.

    Editor's choices

    For parish priest in Amadiya, Advent among Mosul refugees sees solidarity stronger than hardships (photos)

    Fr Samir describes an atmosphere of joy and hope, despite the lack of resources and less aid. The struggle for survival has boosted the bond between Christians, Muslims, and Yazidis. About 150 refugee families are still living at the centre, 70 per cent depending on resources provided by the Church. Hundreds of young people attend the prayer meeting in preparation for Christmas.

    Xenophobia and populism. The case of Asia

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Theme studied during symposium jointly organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and by the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Tracing the commitment of Churches amid rising hostility towards others, considered as enemies and foreigners. "Migrants" are an important political theme in Germany and in UK Brexit. Testimonies from Latin America and Africa. Asian experiences entrusted to the director of AsiaNews.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®