Al-Rahi Rejects Extension of Parliament's Term without Agreement on Electoral Law

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi lamented on Sunday the state of political affairs in Lebanon after the failure to reach an agreement over a new parliamentary electoral law, accusing political powers of obstructing the functioning of constitutional institutions.

He said during his Sunday sermon from Bkirki: “We cannot accept the extension of the term of parliament for whatever duration if a new electoral law is not devised.”

The failure to reach an agreement over a new vote law is threatening the extension of parliament's term, which has been met with the support of some powers and the rejection of others.

The patriarch wondered: “How can a parliament approve the extension of its term, while failing to agree on a number of electoral draft laws at its disposal?”

“The political class in Lebanon obstructs the lives of the people, forcing them to immigrate from the country,” al-Rahi said.

“We cannot accept such practices and the crippling of the country's economy, tourism, and commercial sector,” he declared.

He therefore demanded that the political powers reach an agreement over a “fair and just” electoral law and approve the formation of a new government that can tackle the political, economic, security, and social situations in Lebanon.

After months of discussions, political powers failed to reach an agreement over a new electoral law, which is threatening to postpone the elections that are scheduled for June 16.

This has not however prevented candidates from submitting their candidacies according to the amended version of the 1960 electoral law that was adopted in the 2009 polls, but which has been nearly unanimously rejected for this year's elections.

The political factions argued that they have submitted their candidacies according to this law in order to avoid uncontested victories.

Al-Rahi recently returned to Lebanon from a south American tour that saw him visit Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Colombia.

He also paid a visit to the Vatican, where he met with Pope Francis I, before returning to Lebanon.

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