Patriarch Rai calls for Made-in-Lebanon President


Lebanon patriarch rai

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rai , the highest Christian spiritual authority in Lebanon called on politicians on Saturday to “descend from their thrones and engage in settlements to end the presidential crisis as they are failing a community, a history and a nation.

“Lebanon is passing through delicate circumstances and undergoing decay amid the lingering presidential vacuum,” The Patriarch said during a tour in the Batroun region .

“A decapitated body means death,” al-Rai said in describing the presidential stalemate.

He called on politicians to assume their responsibilities and elect a new head of state, saying: “You need to have the courage and free will, and posses a sense of responsibility to find a solution for the crisis.”

“We want a made-in-Lebanon president, who is consensual and wise,”the Patriarch stressed

The Lebanese parliament failed on May 13 and for the 23rd time in a row to elect a president to replace Michel Suleiman whose term ended on May 25.

As in the past sessions the parliament was unable to reach a quorum because the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group and its ally MP Michel Aoun’s Change and Reform bloc MPs boycotted the sessions.

Speaker Nabih Berri postponed the election to June 3 , 2015 .

Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea who was the first to announce his presidential candidacy blamed Hezbollah for the vacuum at the country’s top Christian post, saying the party has been insisting on backing a single candidate, in reference to Aoun, and not making compromises.

“Hezbollah’s top priority is the region’s crisis and not Lebanon,”Geagea said on May 13.

The failure of the Christians to agree on a candidate does not provide an excuse for Hezbollah to continue its boycott of sessions,” Geagea added.

According to an observer unless the constitution is amended this kind of scenario could be repeated in any future election of a president . The observer suggests that the constitution should be changed to force MPs to show up at the parliament to vote whichever way they want or, strip any MP of his or her credentials if he/she doesn’t show up to elect a president. If all fails then the parliament should be dissolved .

According to media reports Lebanon will not get a president before Iran gets its nuclear deal from the west in June . The reports indicate that Hezbollah is awaiting a green light from its backer Iran before it sends its MPS to the parliament .

The reports stressed that Iran is using Hezbollah and Lebanon’s election to put pressure on the west to secure a favorable deal.

No hope

Speaker Nabih Berri who is allied with Hezbollah and Aoun criticized the lawmakers for not showing up at the sessions to elect a president and said that he does not see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Leaving the democratic game is what brought us to this end. Its a pity that the parliament held two dozen sessions to elect a president (and failed) and I still do not see a light o at the end of the tunnel ,” Berri told al-Mustaqbal daily in comments published on Saturday.

Holding each politician responsible for that failure, Berri said: “I hold the whole political strata responsible for that failure and for the dark tunnel of obstruction they brought us to.”