ASIA/LEBANON - Cardinal Raï on the presidential election: “Change must be made in compliance with institutional deadlines

Monday, 11 July 2022 middle east   oriental churches  

Diman (Agenzia Fides) - Delaying or interfering with the formation of a new Lebanese government is an act of "sabotage" against the entire nation and weakens Lebanon in negotiations with the international community. This was stressed by the Lebanese Cardinal and Maronite Patriarch of Antioch, Béchara Boutros Raï, in his homily on Sunday July 10, in Diman presiding in the church of the Patriarch's summer residence. The Lebanese parliamentary elections were held on May 15 and no government has been formed since then. "The tactics of the parties, which are again paralyzing the political and institutional life of the country," said the Patriarch, "threaten the resilience of the state, fuel the anger of the people and expose Lebanon to interference, manipulation and a new subordination to regional and global geopolitical actors”. This is a situation "that could deteriorate further if the current stalemate also affects the election of a new head of state, scheduled for next October," the Patriarch warned. This "change at the top" must be "taken within institutional deadlines and dates". And if the country's collapse is not to become irreversible, a president must be elected who is "politically committed and experienced, courageous and bold, a statesman who is neutral in its integrity and is guided by its patriotism", who knows how to stand "above the alliances between the parties and the dialectics between the opposing political axes".
At the end of his homily, Cardinal Raï offered his best wishes to fellow Muslims celebrating Eid al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) over the weekend. On the occasion of the Islamic festival, the Lebanese Shiite Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Kabalan, also called for the rapid formation of a new government team, which "gives priority to the daily life of the Lebanese, 80 per cent of whom live below the poverty line", and "does not allow themselves to be influenced by the provocations of Washington, the West and certain Arab countries". (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 11/7/2022)