BEIRUT: The patriarch of the Syriac Catholic Church demanded Sunday the creation of a parliamentary seat for the sect in Ashrafieh, as politicians struggle to agree on new elections legislation for this year’s polls.
Speaking during a Mass to celebrate Saint Ifram, the patron saint of the sect, Ignatius III Younan urged President Michel Sleiman to grant the Syriac Catholics a seat where they have their “most pronounced demographic and social presence, namely Ashrafieh [in Beirut].”
Younan said he rejected the calls by those who advocate “giving the Syriacs a seat – there is nothing in the Constitution that talks about ‘Syriacs’ – it’s Syriac Catholic, and Syriac Orthodox.”
Younan said Syriac Catholics were a founding sect of modern Lebanon and deserved better representation than to be grouped into the so-called “Minorities” category, which currently has one seat.
The MP for the Minorities seat must come from one of the following groups: Syriac Catholics, Syriac Orthodox, Latin, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Copts.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 25, 2013, on page 4.