In a poignant New Year message, the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of Beirut, Bishop Elias Audi, delivered a fervent call for the immediate election of a president in Lebanon. Presiding over the Divine Liturgy service at the Cathedral of Saint George in Nejmeh Square, the archbishop addressed the nation’s challenges, expressing hope that 2024 would mark Lebanon’s salvation from its wounds and scars.

Bishop Elias Audi began his sermon by emphasizing the pressing need for political stability, decrying the prolonged vacuum in the presidency that has persisted year after year. He lamented the country’s struggle with constitutional adherence, describing the non-implementation of the constitution as a de facto constitution in itself, physically enshrined by certain groups but disconnected from the aspirations and interests of the Lebanese people.

“The biggest disaster in this country is getting used to the vacuum in the presidency,” the bishop declared, highlighting the absence of an official dedicated to upholding the constitution and challenging prevailing trends that undermine the rule of law.

Drawing attention to the power of collective will, Bishop Audi invoked the example of the parliament successfully extending the term of the Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, for the sake of preserving security and stability. He questioned why the same collective will has not been harnessed to elect a president, a crucial step to ensure the stability of the entire nation.

“It is said that ability lies in the will, and this is true because a person who intends or decides to do something must be able to do it,” the archbishop asserted, underscoring the absence of political will as the root cause of the prolonged presidential vacancy.

As Lebanon grapples with a myriad of challenges, including political instability, economic crises, and social unrest, Bishop Elias Audi urged the political council to prioritize the country’s well-being. He emphasized that the election of a president, in accordance with the constitution, would serve as a comprehensive solution to fill every vacancy and conduct the work of every department.

The archbishop concluded his message with a prayer for the new year to bring goodness, peace, and blessings and expressed solidarity with the southern villages and Palestine, which are still enduring bombardment and inhumanity. Additionally, he remembered the victims of the Beirut port explosion, calling for justice that has been elusive due to the overpowering influence of political authorities over the suppressed judiciary.

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