The Higher Islamic Shiite Council said on Sunday that remarks voiced by a major religious leader against the Shiite sect contained “sectarian incitement, a distortion of facts, and unjust accusations”, referring to the statement of Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai.
“If we are demanding to keep the Finance Ministry with the Shiite sect, that is out of our keenness on national partnership in the executive authority,” the Council said in a statement.
It noted that any rotation of the ministerial portfolios should be accompanied by a rotation of the so-called first-degree posts in state administrations.
“The policy of elimination, isolation, and marginalization, which Imam Moussa Sadr had long warned against, cannot build a country and cannot produce a state,” the Council stressed.
The statement added that the Council has called and is still calling for abolishing political sectarianism and endorsing citizenship as the standard in political action within a just state based on equality in rights and duties regardless of sectarian privileges.
France has been pushing Lebanon to form a new cabinet fast. But a deadline of Sept. 15 that politicians told Paris they would meet has been missed amid a row over appointments, notably the finance minister, a post Shiites controlled for years.
On Sunday, Rai criticized the Shiite duo by asking in what capacity does a sect demand a certain ministry as if it is its own ministry. “Which constitutional act permits the monopoly of a particular ministerial portfolio? We reject this monopoly because it aims to establish the hegemony of a group over the state. Our rejection is not against a specific sect,” the Patriarch said.
The Shiite Council said it regrets that a corrupt political class is trying to impose its conditions in the government formation.
“This political class comprises those who bet on breaking the Resistance and prolonging the war against it,” the statement added.
The Council also said it considers this class responsible for the country’s current economic collapse due to its policy of share distribution, shady deals, the waste of public funds, and violations of the Constitution.