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Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Urges Government Formation, Presidential Election

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Urges Government Formation, Presidential Election

Sunday, 19 June, 2022 - 07:30
Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai at the concluding ceremony of the Maronite Church's Synod of Bishops' spiritual exercise (Maronite Patriarchate)

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai called for the formation of a new government, asserting his rejection of a "caretaker government," "constitutional vacuum," and "presidential vacancy."

Speaking after the Maronite Church's Synod of Bishops' spiritual exercise, Rai called on civil and political officials to resolve the issue of the government and prepare for electing a new president without delay.

Rai said it is time to decide whether "we are worthy of this nation and its pluralistic composition."

He indicated that the political parties are irresponsible and disregard people's sufferings and the fate of Lebanon."

"This is a delicate stage that calls for choosing a credible prime minister who has the experience, knowledge, and wisdom in public affairs capable of forming a cabinet with the President of the Republic as soon as possible to take urgent decisions, the first of which is to initiate vital and expected reforms," asserted the Patriarch.

He called on the international community to help Lebanon by finding a solution to the presence of Palestinian refugees and displaced Syrians on Lebanese soil, stressing that "the human and brotherly feelings that we have for these two brotherly peoples do not nullify the national thinking in the interest of Lebanon."

Rai noted that it could not be accepted that many parties, especially at the international level, consider refugees and displaced persons a reality that must be adapted to the point of integration, settlement, and naturalization.

He wondered how some countries can claim they are keen on maintaining Lebanon's independence and stability while they work to undermine its unity.

"This is a destructive logic that will inevitably undermine Lebanon's unity and force us to confront it to save Lebanon's entity, its current constitution, and its charter formula."

He called on the Lebanese state to make an exceptional effort by negotiating with the Palestinian Authority, the Arab League, the United Nations, and major countries to redeploy the refugees in countries capable of accommodating them.

He also stressed that the time has come for the displaced Syrians to return and build their homeland.

Lebanese parties are discussing the nomination of a new prime minister amid fears that disparities will prevent the prime minister-designate from forming his cabinet, and the government will remain a caretaker until President Michel Aoun's term expires on October 31.

The bishops of the Maronite Church supported Rai, affirming in their concluding statement their adherence to coexistence, the national pact, and the participatory formula among the Lebanese components in the political system.

They called on political officials to form a new government to address corruption and implement the required reforms.

Meanwhile, the head of the Democratic Gathering parliamentary bloc, MP Taymour Jumblatt, considered that the harsh phase that Lebanon is going through requires reform and a productive government away from all political conflicts, third-party veto power, and ministries attributed to certain parties.

Jumblatt indicated that the government should be capable of communicating with the Arab and international communities.

He underlined the need to highlight the specifications required for any future prime minister, whose priority would be implementing reform plans and negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Jumblatt also stated that the PM must distance himself from drowning in the pitfalls of quotas, and narrow calculations that have always exhausted the country, undermined the aspirations of its youth, and destroyed its institutions.

Furthermore, Lebanon's Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc member, MP Hassan Ezzeddine, stressed the need to form a salvation government capable of protecting Lebanon's sovereignty, wealth, and independence.

MP Hussein Jishi also called for forming a cabinet that takes the initiative as quickly as possible to address urgent matters and award oil and gas extraction contracts, even if it is only in the areas not disputed with Israel, and expand its scope of cooperation to all countries except Israel.

Jishi said that getting out of the economic crisis is possible and requires sovereign political decisions.

He asserted that it is time for cooperation and understanding to save the country, reiterating that the bloc is ready to work with everyone "because we are all in the same boat."

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