Qabbani Holds onto Election Date for Higher Islamic Councilإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani reiterated on Sunday that only the Mufti has the authority to call for the election of the members of the Higher Islamic Council.
In remarks to An Nahar daily, Qabbani said: “The person in charge of calling for the elections of the Council is the Mufti. He sets the date and urges the electoral bodies to vote for a new Council.”
His comment came in response to the criticism made by several members of the Council that the HIC, which elects the mufti and organizes the affairs of Dar al-Fatwa, is entitled to invite for the elections.
Dar al-Fatwa is Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority.
Qabbani, who insists that the council’s term has expired, called Monday for elections on April 14.
He has previously canceled a decision to call for the election on Dec. 30.
Also last year, the Shura Council suspended the polls after 21 HIC members, who are close to ex-Premier Saad Hariri's al-Mustaqbal Movement, filed a challenge against Qabbani's call.
They described the elections for the Council as illegal over Qabbani's failure to consult them before making his call.
The Mufti's ties with al-Mustaqbal deteriorated in 2011 when he met with a delegation from Hizbullah the same day the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted four party members in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's Feb. 2005 assassination.
Relations between the two sides were also shaken when the mufti met with Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali, whom al-Mustaqbal and the March 14 opposition alliance have on several occasions said should be expelled.