Al-Rahi: Those Seeking, Causing Presidential Vacuum Will Bear Historic Responsibility

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Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday blamed the presidential vacuum that has started to loom on the horizon on “those who are seeking it and those who might cause it,” rejecting what he described as a “maneuver.”

“We warn of the consequences of presidential vacuum and those seeking it or causing it will bear a historic responsibility,” al-Rahi said during Sunday's mass in Harissa.

“Vacuum is totally rejected by us and by the people because it would harm the National Pact (of coexistence) through eliminating a main component” of society, the patriarch added.

He noted that vacancy in the country's top post would also violate the constitution as it would “contradict with the constitutional responsibility that obliges MPs to elect a president,” stressing that “any other interpretation is a maneuver aimed at reaching vacuum.”

On Saturday, Bkirki spokesman Walid Ghayyad said al-Rahi had informed Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil – a Free Patriotic Movement official and son-in-law of FPM chief Michel Aoun -- that the election of a president by May 25 would be guaranteed by the attendance of all lawmakers to the parliamentary session.

Ghayyad noted that the patriarch expressed his dismay at “Christian MPs who are boycotting electoral sessions and violating the Bkirki agreement.”

On Thursday, al-Rahi held separate talks with President Michel Suleiman and Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, who announced for the first time that he is willing to leave the presidential race once the March 14 forces agree on a consensual candidate.

The ongoing disagreement between the March 8 and 14 camps is raising fears that they will fail to elect a president before May 25, resulting in a vacuum in the country's top post.

The 128-member parliament held a presidential election session on April 23, but neither Geagea nor Democratic Gathering MP Henri Helou garnered the necessary 86 votes to emerge victorious.

Two other sessions were supposed to be held, but they failed over lack of quorum amid a boycott by the March 8 camp.

The fourth session is scheduled for May 15.


Comments 2
Thumb smarty 11 May 2014, 21:02

perhaps he can excommunicate the troublemakers. they don't believe in God anyway...

Thumb beiruti 12 May 2014, 16:25

Smarty, you have about the only solution that Bkerki would impose on Aoun, declare him a non-Maronite and thus unqualified to serve as President of the Republic. Of course he would then start to campaign on allowing Jehovah Witnesses serve as president.