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Aoun: Christian solidarity needed in Lebanon
File - MP leader Michel Aoun attends the weekly meeting in Rabieh, Friday, April 5, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul)
File - MP leader Michel Aoun attends the weekly meeting in Rabieh, Friday, April 5, 2013. (The Daily Star/Charbel Nakhoul)
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BEIRUT: Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun stressed Monday the need to create an atmosphere of Christian solidarity in Lebanon.

In a meeting with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, Aoun stressed “the need for serious efforts to create an atmosphere of Christian-Christian consensus, and a Lebanese-Christian consensus.”

According to Aoun, both he and looked into a number of matters, including efforts to draft a new electoral law, which they will discuss with their partners and respective blocs for approval. Aoun and Rai also discussed the latest developments in the country as well as in the region.

“In Lebanon there are a lot of multifaceted problems, and the patriarch has his own opinions concerning these issues, for he is a key figure at the national level and at the Christian level,” Aoun said.

“So visiting him to look for foreseeable solutions is natural.”

The FPM MP called on all Maronite leaders to embrace the patriarch’s call for wider engagement in dialogue in order to select “the most suitable president for Lebanon.”

Elections for a new president, a post legally reserved for a Maronite Christian, are set for May 2014.

President Michel Sleiman has repeatedly said he is against extending his term and that he would challenge such a proposal.

The deepening political deadlock in Lebanon has nevertheless raised concerns that a presidential election might not be held on time.

Following the Change and Reform bloc meeting Tuesday, Culture Minister Gaby Layoun released a statement saying an extension of Sleiman’s term would constitute “the greatest vacuum.”

“President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister-designate Tammam Salam cannot form a government that they already know will not win a vote of confidence,” he said.

He added that there were issues requiring the caretaker Cabinet to convene.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 18, 2013, on page 3.
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