Vatican Delegation Visits Lebanon, Al-Rahi Heads on Foreign Tour over Presidential Elections

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The Vatican plans to dispatch a delegation to Lebanon in a bid to prompt Lebanese officials into ending the presidential vacuum, amid reports that Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi also plans a trip to several major countries to up pressures to elect a president.

The Vatican plans to send a delegation to Beirut next week, conveying Pope Francis' concern “on hurdles delaying the presidential elections in light of the inflamed situation in the region,” al-Liwaa daily reported on Saturday.

The delegation is set to meet several Lebanese officials in a bid to find ways that could end the almost month-long presidential vacuum in the top Christian post in Lebanon.

A similar delegation had visited Lebanon in April and toured various officials focusing on a number of pressing issues including the necessity to hold the presidential elections on time “because vacuum harms the presidential post and the Christians as well.”

In that regard, al-Rahi “may travel to several major power countries to push further the efforts to elect a president,” added the daily.

The Patriarch could “visit Washington for consultations with officials to pave way for a good environment that could end up with electing a president.”

Al-Rahi is set to travel to Australia in October in a pastoral visit.

Since the end of President Michel Suleiman's tenure in May, and the failure of the parliament to elect a successor, Lebanon has been witnessing vacuum in the top Christian post.

According to the constitution, the government "combined" assumes powers of the president in case of absence.

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