BEIRUT: Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai slammed Lebanese politicians Sunday, saying MPs had disappointed the nation by underestimating the need for a new president.
“The nation’s representatives and those backing them have been offering disappointment to Lebanon, its friends and its devotees,” Rai said in Sunday’s Mass at Saints Peter and Paul Church.
MPs are behaving as if “not electing a president is a very normal thing that does not provoke any reactions from them, or from the civil society,” he added.
Rai used his speech to elaborate on the new “national agenda” that was proposed by the Maronite Church last February.
The agenda, which he said must be adopted now on the collective national level, includes a series of principles that should be respected by political actors.
“We should all, especially those dealing with political matters, consider the agenda a road map according to which we should start walking,” Rai said.
The agenda serves as a preparation for the 100th anniversary of Greater Lebanon’s formation in September 2020, Rai explained.
It includes educating new generations on the values of respecting the state and the Constitution away from private visions and interests.
“Refusing any disruption to the authority’s formation,” should be given primacy, he added, “by totally respecting its constitutional processes.”
Also, according to Rai, keeping Lebanon away from regional conflicts should be a national priority. However, he explained that the country should be transformed into “a public space for meeting and dialogue,” and should show commitment toward the just causes in the region, especially the Palestinian one.
Rai highlighted the need to strengthen Christian-Muslim coexistence in Lebanon by sticking to the National Pact of 1943 as the law governing Lebanese politics.
The patriarch added that preparations for the 100th anniversary should not be reduced to the logistical arrangements for a public celebration. Instead, many reforms that reinforce “the Lebanese entity’s role and institutions,” must be achieved to prepare for a real celebration in 2020, he said.