03/18/2016, 09.35
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Patriarch Rai says presidential void unconstitutional and calls for immediate vote

The leader of the Maronite Church warns of impact of institutional stalemate. The cardinal adds that "the patriarchate does not have candidates. It does not recommend a certain candidate, it does not support a candidate and it does not veto any candidate". Deep concern on the part of the UN Security Council. Danger of political, social and economic "instability".

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai has launched a new appeal for the election of the President of the Republic of Lebanon, a position vacant for over 21 months, stressing that any attempt to extend the institutional vacuum is against the Constitution.

The Charter, stressed the Cardinal yesterday, “stipulates that in the event of vacuum, the parliament should convene immediately to elect a president … This is the true interpretation". "We reject the current situation because it violates the Constitution and we will not accept any other interpretation".

Since May 2014, the end of Michel Suleiman’s mandate, the Land of the Cedars has been without a president. In recent months, the Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah and its allies have repeatedly boycotted the vote for the renewal of the office, by denying a quorum.

They say the boycott is "legal from a constitutional perspective."

The leader of the Maronite Church once again intervened, clarifying that " the patriarchate does not have candidates. It does not recommend a certain candidate, it does not support a candidate and it does not veto any candidate". The prelate calls on politicians to "not to bet on foreign forces or a" miracle, but to meet in Parliament "and elect a president", because this is "our position today."

The two main camps in the country are divided between supporting Franjieh Suleiman and Michel Aoun. So far they have failed to reach an agreement to unlock the situation.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Security Council appeals to the Lebanese political forces for the election of a new head of state "as soon as possible". Expressing "deep concern" over the stalemate, the member states evoke the danger of political, social and economic "instability" if this situation were to continue beyond measure.

The statement from the United Nations Security Council has come in the aftermath of the report presented by the Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag on the effective application of Resolution 1701 - cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah and the withdrawal of Israeli troops - and the latest report on peacekeeping operations in the country.

The UN agency finally appeals to the international community to support Lebanon in its assistance to refugees, while ensuring the stability of the nation.

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