Syriac Maronite Patriarch al-Rai highlights presidential election crisis

DIMANE, Lebanon — Syriac Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rai, highlighted the efforts of some parties to disrupt Lebanon’s upcoming presidential elections.

Patriarch Al-Rai stressed Lebanon’s urgent need to form a new government that has the interests of the people and the revolution of 17 October 2019 at its core.

With the date of the presidential election approaching and political forces, parties, and alliances conducting meetings, the Patriarch said during his most recent Sunday sermon that waiting for consensus is a double-edged sword, especially since the parameters of this consensus have not yet emerged. Yet, he continued, the election of the president is a vital condition for the republic to survive and not fragment like its neighbor countries.

Patriarch al-Rai added that the circumstances require a national, sovereign, comprehensive, and representative government that provides it with the ability to guarantee the country’s unity and economic advancement and to carry out the required reforms.

He stated that any attempt to disrupt the presidential election is an attempt to bring down the republic on the one hand and to exclude the Christian and Maronite role on the other. Preventing the election of a president so that the powers of the office remain with the Council of Ministers is destructive to the republic and needs to end, the Patriarch said.

Patriarch Al-Rai asked why some people prefer handing over the country to a resigned government over electing a new president who is able to lead the country, noting that this means that there are those who want to change the system and the constitution, creating artificial competition between the presidency and the prime minister.