BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Sunday called on politicians to prevent further economic and security deterioration in Lebanon by ending the presidential vacuum as soon as possible.
“Only a Christian Maronite president who enjoys wide support and possesses the right personality, morals and history, can guarantee the unique Lebanese [pluralistic] feature,” Rai said in Sunday’s ceremony at the Patriarchal Edifice’s church in Diman. “The delay or procrastination in electing a president threatens Lebanon’s existence."
Rai accused Lebanese politicians of ignoring the harsh consequences of the presidential void, leading the country into further difficulties.
“Don’t the officials know that because of the presidential void, the country’s economic and security situations further deteriorate?” he asked.
He stressed that this situation had caused socio-economic decline in Lebanon and left room for the exploitation of the state’s resources and workers’ rights.
“It is painful to see that neglecting the ranks and salaries for years and years has led to terrible social, humanitarian and educational consequences,” he said.
The patriarch addressed “those disrupting the presidential elections directly and indirectly and whoever hides behind their curtains” saying: “[You] are causing great damage to Lebanon.”
“It is a shame that our presidential seat is empty when Lebanon attends the Arab League or the United Nations meetings,” he added.
He prayed for “real statesmen that could save Lebanon from its political, economic, social and security crises.
The Lebanese experience of religious coexistence, Rai said, gives an example to regional nations experiencing sectarian clashes.
“The Lebanese experience could help the Middle Eastern countries suffering from wars, violence, terrorism and the emergence of fundamentalist movements, to avoid the lethal slip into religious, social and political monopoly,” he said.
Rai stressed on the importance of the pluralistic Lebanese system “in the midst of the Islamic theocracies in many Arab countries, and the Jewish theocracy in Israel.”