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Rahi: Shameful Delay in Cabinet Formation Causing Lebanon's Decay

Rahi: Shameful Delay in Cabinet Formation Causing Lebanon's Decay

Sunday, 7 August, 2022 - 10:30
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati meets with Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi at the government palace in Beirut, Lebanon October 26, 2021. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi said on Sunday it is "shameful" that Lebanese politicians have yet to form a new cabinet nearly three months after elections, blaming their chronic feuding for the country's "decay".

In his weekly sermon, Rahi drew an unfavorable comparison between Lebanon's progress in securing a maritime boundary deal with Israel and the paralysis in domestic politics.

"Isn't it shameful that authorities make efforts to reach an agreement with Israel on maritime borders but refrain from forming a government? Has it become easier for them to agree with Israel than to agree on a government among the Lebanese?" he said.

"Isn't the split in political power in Lebanon, and of the parties... the basis of the (country's) political, economic, financial and social decay?" he added.

The Maronite Patriarch said "ugly campaigns in the media" appeared aimed at delaying government formation and the election of a new president later on this year.

Rahi was alluding to an escalating dispute between President Michel Aoun and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who was re-nominated as premier after parliamentary elections in May and has been struggling to form a new cabinet.

Mikati presented a speedy draft cabinet line-up to Aoun in June and has stuck to it, although Aoun has suggested a different make-up.

Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement and Mikati have been engaged in a war of words. The FPM accuses Mikati with delaying cabinet formation and even of accumulating wealth through corruption.

But Mikati's office says Aoun's party is out of touch with reality in Lebanon.

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