Maronite Patriarch to Hariri: Christian presence essential for Lebanon

Card Raï addressed the Prime Minister in charge, urging him not to relegate Christians to the margins in the formation of the executive. He must overcome the “impositions” of political forces and appoint “experienced and independent” ministers. The next government’s difficult task of overcoming a “dramatic situation”.

Beirut (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The Maronite Patriarch, Card Beshara Raï, has launched an appeal to the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, asking him not to forget Christians and not to relegate them to the margins in the formation of the new executive and the relaunch policies of the country.

In his homily for Sunday Mass, a traditional moment for addressing national and international political and current issues, the cardinal urged the new prime minister to “go beyond the conditions imposed by political forces” and “avoid the quagmire of the parties”. The goal, he warns, must be to appoint “expert ministers independent of the political forces”.

Last week, President Michel Aoun entrusted the mandate to the already three-time Prime Minister, in an attempt to break the deadlock and encourage the birth of a new executive. The crisis experienced in the last year is only one of the many elements of difficulty affecting politics, the economy and the institutions themselves.

A precarious situation, to which Covid-19 and the double explosion at Beirut port  were the final blow, pushing 55% of the population below the poverty line in a context of continuous emergency. The extreme political and social precariousness has triggered an increase in suicides and a rush to buy the few drugs left on the shelves of pharmacies, while the hospitals are in catastrophic conditions.

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The next government, Patriarch Raï stressed, “must face this dramatic situation and deal with it”. Addressing Hariri directly, the Cardinal invites him to “go beyond the contrary conditions and impositions of political formations, put aside the quagmire of personal interests and the share splitting and personal appetites of political and religious leaders”.

The Sunni leader “must comply only with the Constitution and the National Pact”, paying attention “to bilateral agreements and promises” and fighting with all his might “corruption and the theft of public funds”.

Card. Raï finally urged Hariri, in his fourth term, not to “leave Christians behind”, reminding him that his father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, used to emphasize that the land of cedars “cannot function” without the active participation of the component Christian.


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