Rahi Urges Rivals to Elect President to Stop Country from 'Dying'

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi urged the rival March 8 and 14 alliances on Thursday to officially announce the name of their presidential candidates and elect a new head of state.

“It is a shame that the presidential vacuum crossed the one-year mark,” al-Rahi told a delegation from the Maronite League that visited him in Bkirki.

“We did all we can to find solutions but the March 8 and 14 alliances are bickering in vain with each other,” he said.

The two coalitions should “officially announce the name of their candidates so that we know where we are heading,” said al-Rahi.

“Let them head to parliament to only elect a new president,” the patriarch told the delegation that was headed by the head of the Maronite League, Samir Abi Lamaa.

He warned that “the country is dying and the institutions are disintegrating.”

Baabda Palace has been vacant since the term of President Michel Suleiman ended in May last year.

The vacuum is partly to be blamed on Christian rivals Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun and Lebanese Forces chief Samir Geagea, who are both presidential candidates.

The MPs of Aoun's Change and Reform bloc in addition to Hizbullah and other lawmakers from the March 8 alliance have been boycotting the polls over their call for a prior agreement on a consensual candidate.



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