Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai has once again warned against “marginalizing the Maronite community” and called on Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to “open the doors of Parliament” by calling an election meeting. “Stop keeping the doors of the presidential palace closed! Stop marginalizing the Maronite community, which is a founding element of Lebanon!” he called out in his Sunday homily in Bkerke.

He insisted that “the primary duty of MPs is to elect a head of state.” “Refraining from electing a president is a betrayal of the people who elected you to represent them,” continued Archbishop Rai, addressing the MPs.

The Patriarch called on MPs to perform their electoral duty “in order to avoid the dismantling of the institutions of the State, first and foremost the Parliament, which has no right to legislate (in the absence of a president), and a government that is today deprived of its powers.” In this context, he spoke out against “the heresy of so-called necessity legislation and appointments” by which the parliament and the government justify the adoption of laws and administrative decisions in violation of the Constitution in the absence of a president.

The Patriarch called for respect for the Constitution, “which would put an end to differences, boycotts and threats aimed at silencing opposing voices, which harm national partnership and equality.” He stressed that “Lebanon is in dire need of leaders dedicated to public service.”

Rai continued, “Within the Maronite community, there are people of this stature, and Baabda (the seat of the Presidency of the Republic) needs them.”

Before the mass, the Patriarch received the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Joseph Aoun, who attended the divine service. General Aoun went to Bkerke to thank Rai for his condolences on the death of his mother.

Kabalan’s Response

The response from the Speaker of the Parliament was swift. It came through the unofficial spokesman for the Amal-Hezbollah tandem, the Jaafari mufti Sheikh Ahmad Kabalan, who, in a statement, considered, in defiance of the Constitution, that “national partnership requires a presidential compromise that corresponds to the interests of all communities and not just one.”

What’s worse is that, in his view, this compromise must also “correspond to the stakes of the sovereignist war waged by the resistance,” i.e., Hezbollah against Israel.

Sheikh Kabalan went on to point out that the President is “for all of Lebanon, not the leader of one community,” thus responding to the Patriarch’s warning against marginalizing the Maronite community. As for Parliament, he continued, “it must conform to the spirit of the National Pact, far from the traps set by Washington and its agents in Lebanon. This is what its president is watching over. Its national duty is to carry out what is in the best interests of the country, including legislation of necessity and the protection of national decisions as well as constitutional positions.”

Subscribe to our newsletter

Newsletter signup

Please wait...

Thank you for sign up!