Naharnet

Al-Rahi Mulls Several Options to Resolve Presidential Crisis

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is expected to launch contacts this week to resolve the presidential deadlock despite his deep frustration over the failure to implement any of the initiatives he has suggested so far.

According to An Nahar daily, Al-Rahi informed several of his visitors that he would contact officials on Monday and Tuesday to find ways to end the vacuum at Baabda Palace, which came as a result of the failure of lawmakers to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman.

Informed sources expected al-Rahi to relaunch his initiative to bring Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea to the same table.

Geagea's candidacy has been backed by the March 14 alliance while Aoun, a March 8 official, has not run for the presidency, saying consensus was needed to announce his candidacy.

Al-Rahi has expressed severe concern over the failure to elect a new president after the expiry of Suleiman's six-year term on May 25.

The patriarch realized that all his initiatives on the presidency have not led to results, sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper.

“He hears nice words without any interpretation,” they said.

Among the measures that al-Rahi is mulling to take, is calling the ambassadors of the five major powers to a meeting in Bkirki and making a similar invitation to the diplomats of regional countries, al-Joumhouria said.

Other measures include holding consultations with the country's four main Maronite political leaders, who last met in Bkirki on March 28.

Inviting the representatives of the four political parties – The FPM, LF, Kataeb and Marada - to a meeting is another option, it added.

But al-Rahi wants to make sure that his moves would succeed before launching any of the initiatives.

Last week, Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad said the patriarch is expected to reconcile the rival Christian political leaders ahead of an initiative for a comprehensive reconciliation in the country.

The initiative resembles a “snowball that starts with resolving the most difficult problems (among Maronites) and then grows” to include the entire country, he added.

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