Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - A seat in the Lebanese Parliament for a politician belonging to the Syriac Orthodox Church, and another guaranteed by regulation to a representative of the Syriac Catholic community: is the concrete request expressed in the joint statement that the Primates of the two Syriac-Antiochene Churches - Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Youssif III - signed yesterday, at the Syriac Catholic patriarchal seat, in the presence of politicians and church representatives. In the joint document – refer local sources consulted by Agenzia Fides - it is also asked to ensure a major presence of members of the two Christian communities in offices and public works, avoiding overt or covert discrimination of any kind.
The request contained in the joint document signed yesterday, had already been presented to the leaders of the Lebanese political parties that the two Patriarchs of the Syriac-Antiochene Churches had wanted to meet for a quick round of consultations last January (see Fides 22/01/2016). The system of parliamentary "quotas" guaranteed to Christian minorities are in place in several Arab Muslim-majority countries, such as Egypt and Iraq. In Lebanon, the delicate Lebanese institutional system reserves the office of President of the Republic to a Christian Maronite, but that office has been vacant since May 2014, and the necessary consensus for the election of a new President cannot be found, partly because of the divisions among the various political acronyms guided by Christian leaders. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 11/05/2016)