Maronite Patriarch Says Lebanon's Future Is at Risk

Accuses Politicians of Ignoring Power Vacuum Created by Delayed Presidential Elections

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The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch has accused Lebanese politicians of ignoring the dire consequences of a power vacuum, placing the country’s future at risk.

Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai believes the delay or postponement of the election of a new president of the republic «threatens the very existence of Lebanon,” since he believes “only a Maronite President with broad consensus and appropriate personality, moral qualities and individual history» can ensure continuity of the physiognomy characteristic of Lebanon, reported Fides.

Cardinal Rai therefore raises the alarm on the political crisis that has paralyzed the country’s institutions. For months, the two main opposing political blocks – the «March 8 Coalition» and the «March 14 coalition» – have used vetoes to sabotage any chance of finding a shared candidate for the office of President of the Republic.

The Maronite leader made the accusations against the Lebanese politicians Monday during
a Mass, celebrated in the church of the patriarchal summer residence in the village of Diman.

In his opinion, the leaders appear to ignore the dire consequences of the power vacuum concerning the highest office of the State. The stalemate, the Patriarch said in his homily sent to Fides, is favoring «the socio-economic decline of Lebanon and opens the way for the plundering of public resources and the rights of workers».

Moreover, he said «it is a disgrace» that the presidential office remains vacant while Lebanon is preparing to host major summits of the United Nations and the Arab League.

«The Lebanese experience,» Patriarch Rai added, looking towards the possibility of chaotic regional scenarios, «could help the countries of the Middle East that suffer for the wars, violence, terrorism and the rise of fundamentalist movements» to avoid falling fatally under powers based on «religious, political and social monopoly.»

Through this, he suggested, the peculiarity of the Lebanese pluralistic system could be safeguarded «in the midst of the Islamic theocracies that dominate in many Arab Countries and the Jewish theocracy of Israel.»  (D.C.L.)

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