05/26/2005, 00.00
LEBANON

Maronite bishops appeal to voters: "Go and vote"

by Youssef Hourani

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Lebanon's Maronite bishops have appealed to the country's voters to go to the polls and vote en masse, this despite what they call the flaws of the current electoral law. They also urge their fellow countrymen and women to participate in the country's political life.

During a press conference held at headquarters of the Episcopal Commission for Social Communication, Mgr Abou Jaoude, Vicar General of the Maronite Patriarch, laid out the objectives the future lawmakers should pursue in order to reach full sovereignty and social justice.

"Choosing a Member of the National Assembly (MNA) is a national and moral responsibility and a contribution to transferring power to the right people," he said.

"This is why citizens must listen to their conscience when they cast their vote so that elected officials can be free and responsible, independent of personal considerations and interests," he added.

Mgr Abou Jaoude then came back to the issue of the electoral law and said that "it was not advisable that each community choose its representatives and that it was unjust that 85 per cent of lawmakers are in ridings in which the majority belongs to one given community".

The Vicar General told would-be MNAs on what objectives they should focus: a new electoral law, an independent judiciary, national reconciliation, a government of national unity, the liberation of political prisoners, the return of refugees, the economic crisis and budget deficit, the protection of the democratic system, the deployment of the army over the entire national territory and finally new relations with Syria based on the recognition of each other's sovereignty. (YH) 

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