Al-Rahi Urges Officials to Take 'Bold' Steps to Stage Presidential Elections

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged on Sunday officials to take “bold and heroic” steps to end Lebanon's political crisis.

He said during his Sunday sermon: “Politicians who hold honest intentions should not fear to take serious local, regional, and international efforts to stage the presidential elections on time.”

They must hold serious discussions over the identity of the next president who should be capable of confronting the challenges during this critical time, he continued.

The patriarch also labeled as a “mark of shame” the officials' negligence towards the people, seeing as a large portion of Lebanese are “deprived of the most basic means to live.”

He also pointed out to the plight of Syrian refugees in Lebanon in light of the recent storm, while hailing the humanitarian efforts that have been exerted by civil organizations to ease their suffering.

Al-Rahi lamented however “the uncaring approach of wealthy and capable countries that can cater to the refugees' needs.”

President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ends in May 2014, but there are fears that differences between the rival March 8 and 14 alliances would lead to a further clash among the MPs and prevent them from heading to parliament to elect a new president.

The 60-day constitutional deadline for the election of a new president starts on March 25.

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