Rahi Calls for 'Brave Initiatives' to Resolve Crises, Rejects 'Unconstitutional' Void

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged on Wednesday the March 8 and 14 alliances to make “brave initiatives” to resolve the country's crises, saying the failure to elect a president is a violation of the Constitution.

At the start of the synod of Maronite bishops in Bkirki, al-Rahi prayed for the immediate election of a president.

He also hoped that parliament would stop legislative work in accordance with article 75 of the Constitution, in reference to a wage hike draft-law under discussion by the legislature.

Al-Rahi has rejected the vacuum in the country's top Christian post following the failure of rival MPs to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman after the expiry of his six-year term on May 25.

He reiterated his warning that the government of Prime Minister Tammam Salam indefinitely replacing the president would amount to a violation of the power-sharing agreement of 1943.

The National Pact has divided power equally between Muslims and Christians.

“The current practice in not electing a president is a violation of the Constitution and the National Pact. This is shameful and totally rejected,” the patriarch told the bishops.

Al-Rahi called for “brave initiatives by the presidential candidates and the March 8 and 14 alliances” to find solutions to the country's lingering problems.

“No one is allowed to throw the country and (state) institutions in total paralysis,” he said.

Parliament has been incapable of electing a new head of state over differences between the March 8 and 14 alliances on a compromise candidate.

The majority of the March 8 alliance's MPs, including the members of Michel Aoun's Change and Reform bloc, have boycotted the electoral sessions.

Aoun has sought in vain to win the backing of this rival March 14 alliance, which supports the candidacy of Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea.



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