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Rai calls for electing new ‘suitable’ president
File - Patriarch Beshara Rai speaks during an interview in Bkirki, north of Beirut, February 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
File - Patriarch Beshara Rai speaks during an interview in Bkirki, north of Beirut, February 28, 2012. (REUTERS/Sharif Karim)
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BEIRUT: Maronite Cardinal Beshara Rai called Sunday for electing a new president capable of facing the current challenges in Lebanon.

“Fear not the hard work and relentless pursuit at the domestic, regional and international levels to prepare the presidential election within the constitutional deadline,” Rai said, addressing officials during his weekly Sunday sermon.

“Let us look together for a president who is suitable for the current phase we are going through at all its internal, regional and international dimensions.”

The term of President Michel Sleiman ends in May 2014.

The Maronite leader also urged officials to take decisive measures and form a new Cabinet and approve a new electoral law.

“Do not be afraid of taking bold and heroic steps to take Lebanon out of its political crisis by first forming a strong and effective Cabinet that is capable of finding a new electoral law that is convenient for the nation and the citizens,” he said.

The Cabinet formation process has been stalled for over eight months due to differences between political rivals.

Rai also hailed efforts by civil society and humanitarian groups and individuals to help the Syrian refugees who fled violence in their country but criticized the international community for their “carelessness” toward refugees.

“We regret the carelessness of big and rich countries over the innocent victims,” he said.

“Instead of fulfilling their commitments toward refugees, the leaders of these countries are evading their responsibilities,” he added.

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