BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai Saturday called on rival political camps to take initiative and agree on a new president to protect Lebanon from the consequences of the Iraqi and Syrian crises, the National News Agency reported.
“Peace in Lebanon needs a departure from the divide between March 8 and 14, which cuts the country into conflicting splits,” he said during a ceremony noting the end of the ‘spiritual practice of the Maronite bishops,’ which is the first part of their annual Synod.
Rai invited political parties and their presidential candidates to take the initiative and answer the call of the “patriotic conscience.”
“[Reaching] agreement, reconciliation and peace require much more courage than [engaging in] disagreement, conflict and war,” he added.
He urged them to work together in order to determine Lebanon’s needs, and to prevent any spillovers from the recent events in Iraq and Syria.
Rai also mentioned the wage hike in his speech, stressing that electing a president is the gate toward dealing with other issues, among which is the socio-economic crisis in Lebanon.
“The unions and public sector employees and Lebanese University teachers are demanding their rights through strikes and other reactions that harm the general wellbeing,” he said.