01/09/2020, 12.19
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Maronite bishop call for end to delays in formation of government, support for integrated finance

Bishops call on support for interim premier Diab and that the "requests" of the people accepted. Patriarch Raï attacks politicians who "continue to block" the formation of the executive. UN Special Coordinator: "Irresponsible" to keep the country without a government.


Beirut (AsiaNews) - In Lebanon, the formation of a new executive must be encouraged, to respond to the requests of a people exasperated by months of serious political and economic crisis, which has resulted in hundreds of layoffs, cut wages and pushed the banking system to collapse.

 "The mission of the Prime Minister in charge [Hassan Diab] of forming a government - write the prelates at the conclusion of the monthly meeting in the patriarchal see of Bkirki - must be facilitated, while the requests made by people in public squares must not be rejected".

The bishops attack the measures introduced by the banks (including limits on the withdrawal of money or transfers of capital abroad) which, in fact, prevent citizens from disposing of them freely and independently. In response, they call for an "integrated financial policy, to limit citizens' humiliation" in front of credit institutions. At the same time, attacks on banks are condemned, which remain a fundamental pillar for the economy of the state and individuals.

The Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Beshara Raï, also intervened on the crisis situation at the Epiphany mass, re-launching his appeal for the birth of a government that is not affiliated to leaders or political parties.

"It is always our duty - recalls the cardinal - to appeal to the political leaders who continue to block the formation of the government". It is they, he continued, who "brought the country to this state of degradation" at an economic, financial and social level following clientelist and partition policies "in repeated violation of the Constitution".

"We pray to God - concluded Card Raï in his homily - that he will pull Lebanon out of its crisis and for the formation of a government independent of the influence of those responsible and political parties, who pay no attention to anything other than their own interests. ".

Economic difficulties and anti-government protests against corruption and malfeasance saw an escalation of tension in mid-December further hindering the difficult process towards the formation of a new government, called to revive a country from 29 October without an executive following the resignation of the then Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The Lebanese patriarchs and bishops spoke about these issues on the occasion of the celebrations and Christmas homilies, calling political leaders to their responsibilities in the face of the popular revolt.

The UN Special Coordinator Jan Kubis also spoke on the political situation in Lebanon, who stressed that keeping the country without a government is "increasingly irresponsible". Given the situation and developments across the region, the diplomat stressed, "I call on leaders to act without further delay."

At the time of his appointment, on December 19 last, the prime minister in charge Hassan Diab has promised to form a technocrat executive independent of factions and parties within the next six weeks. A difficult task in a nation where, usually, it takes months to see a new government formed.

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