Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi stressed Sunday that the Lebanese Constitution was written to be respected by officials and not to become a source of tension.
“The Constitution has been created to be implemented and not to be a cause of dispute,” he said during Sunday’s mass service in Bkirki.
It was also written “to be a source of agreement and not a source of disagreement.”
His statement came in light of a recent political dispute between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri on the President’s role in forming the new government.
Aoun says the President has a constitutional right to approve the names of the proposed ministers before signing its decree, while Hariri accuses the President of rejecting, without any explanation, the lineups he has been presenting him.
Rahi reminded politicians of "Article D" of the Constitution, saying the people are the source of authority and sovereignty and therefore, shall exercise these powers through the constitutional institutions.
“Don’t you fear God, the people and the court of conscience and history? How can unyielding political positions - that are destructive for the state as an entity and constitutional institutions - persist and under what national conscience and under what justification?”
The Patriarch also criticized Lebanese politicians for not forming a new government amidst daily social, economic, financial and living crises.
“Why don’t you form a cabinet while the financial and economic crisis has reached its peak, the economy is collapsing and agricultural products are damaged? Why don’t you form a government while the people are standing at the doors of banks begging for their money and they don’t find it?” he asked.
Rahi’s rhetoric against political figures came amid ongoing bickering between different factions on the cabinet formation.
On Sunday, head of the Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc MP Bahia Hariri defended the PM-designate for sparing no efforts to form a new government of technocrats capable of stopping the economic collapse.
In return, Cesar Abi Khalil, an MP with the Free Patriotic Movement, led by Aoun’s son-in-law lawmaker Gebran Bassil, said the President would not resign.
He also accused Hariri of “being indifferent towards the cabinet formation process” and of “presenting to the President a government lineup that does not respect the Constitution.”