08/22/2019, 08.00
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Economy, security and constitution: the meeting between Aoun and Patriarch Raï

The meeting was held yesterday in the summer presidential headquarters of Beiteddine.  Focus on Art.95 of the Constitution on confessionalism and quotas in public institutions.  Cardinal believes the selection criterion based on "experience and competence".  A defense strategy to safeguard the country from external tensions.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Economic, social, defense strategies and Article 95 of the Constitution, considered a milestone against the sectarian and confessional drifts that polarize the Middle East and risk hitting Lebanon as well.  These were the main themes at the center of the meeting, which took place yesterday at the President's summer office in Beiteddine, between the Maronite Patriarch Card.  Beshara Raï and the head of state Michel Aoun.  A courtesy visit, the Cardinal added, after the decision to move "which created a cordial atmosphere after the recent tensions".

At the end of the meeting the Maronite Patriarch explained the reasons behind the closed door talks with Aoun.  Beginning with the headquarters of Beiteddine, which aims to "consolidate the historic reconciliation" between Christians and Druze at Mount Lebanon.  "We have discussed the economic question, whose repercussions are affecting the entire population".

 In this regard, an important government meeting dedicated to the economic issue is scheduled today, which should outline the country's future strategies to address and overcome the crisis.  Card. Raï has repeatedly called for new development plan, combined with the enhancement of religious and cultural diversity, are the steps to take to save a nation which is "adrift", due to the decisions of incapable politicians and institutions.

 President Aoun and the primate of the Maronite Church have therefore addressed the topic of Article 95 of the Constitution, with the cardinal who wishes to underline that the Charter "must be applied in its entirety and not only for specific aspects".  The rule, in particular, "must not be frightening, but rather must be an element of guarantee for all the people".

With reference to Art.  95, Aoun asked the Parliament to hold a special session to outline the terms of application in the context of the Constitution, after some contrasts that emerged recently on recruitment in state bodies.  The text of the law provides that "the Chamber of Deputies elected in terms of equality between Christians and Muslims" is called to "take appropriate measures" for "the abolition of political confessionalism".

The constitutional provision also provides that "the principle of confessional representation in the public sector, in the judiciary, in the army and in the institutions responsible for security" is "canceled" in accordance with the steps to be taken with a view to "national reconciliation".  This criterion must be replaced by "experience and competence".

The issue of representation in institutions is not just a formal issue, in a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional nation, in which the powers and offices are defined in the Constitution and which is based on equality between Muslims and Christians.  A principle consolidated after years of bloody civil war and which risks being thrown into crisis by a demographic growth that, in fact, today rewards the faithful of Islam (Sunnis and Shiites, who are also divided and fighting for power)  .

 Finally, the Maronite patriarch recalls that a national defense strategy is "essential" for the country.  "It should be devised - the cardinal concluded - because it is of vital necessity for Lebanon" threatened by regional conflicts and international powers present in the area.


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