Outraged over presidential vacuum Rai to propose new names

Patriarch Rai outraged 2

Patriarch Rai outraged 2Maronite Patriarch Beshara Boutros  al-Rai sounded outraged  on Sunday over the ongoing delay in electing a new  president to replace  Michel Suleiman whose term need on May 25

Some media  reports indicated that he intends to propose the names of new candidates to fill the  post.

“The Patriarch’s outrage  is increasing over the ongoing presidential vacuum,” Rai’s visitors quoted him as saying in comments published in al-Mustaqbal newspaper on Sunday .

Bkirki  sources said that Rai  “refuses to remain silent and accept the negligence,” in hints to the sharp differences between the  two main political camps.

“I will propose the names of new candidates for the presidency,” Rai told officials.

“He is tired of waiting while the rival parties agree on the name of a nominee… He has waited for a long time but they failed to reach common ground,” he was quoted as saying.

Sources  said that the Patriarch is only interested in the actual electoral process and “isn’t concerned with the number of votes that each candidate will garner.”

The next elections session is set for July 23.

Background information

The Lebanese lawmakers failed again July 2 to elect a president  for the eighth time, prolonging a political vacuum as the country struggles with violence, economic decline and an influx of Syrian refugees.

After  Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea secured 48 votes last April 23, the Hezbollah led March 8 alliance including FPM leader Michel Aoun and Marada leader Suleiman Franjieh walked out from the parliament to make sure there was no quorum to elect a president. They continued their boycott of the parliament during the 7 other sessions that followed .

Both Aoun and Franjieh boycotted also the July 2 session.

Aoun has not announced his candidacy but he aspires to become a consensual nominee
“I will announce my nomination when the political situation in parliament becomes clear and when (the current candidates) are dismissed,” Aoun said last month.

The civil war in neighbouring Syria has aggravated long-standing rivalries in Lebanon, where political power is divided among religious communities – the presidency goes to a Maronite Christian, the parliament speaker is a Shi’ite Muslim and the prime minister a Sunni.

Some of Lebanon’s deepest political divisions come over the handling of the Syrian crisis, which has driven over 1 million refugees into Lebanon.

Politicians from the March 8 coalition, which includes Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The rival March 14 coalition backs Assad’s opponents.

The deadlock comes at a time of worsening security. Three suicide bomb attacks late last month targeted Beirut and a checkpoint on the road to Syria. The Syrian crisis and the political stalemate have also hit the Lebanese economy, prompting the central bank to introduce stimulus packages.