Al-Rahi Says Polls under 1960 Law Better than ‘Extension, Destructive Vacuum’

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday reiterated that parliamentary elections under the controversial current law would be better than another extension of parliament’s term or parliamentary “vacuum.”

“We are praying and pleading so that the political forces, the parliamentary blocs and the government be able to issue a new law that enjoys the consent of all components in the country,” al-Rahi said in his Sunday Mass sermon.

“Should they fail after all the attempts, that would be the result of the fact that the electoral laws are being devised to fit the interests of certain individuals and groups, not the people and the whole of Lebanon,” al-Rahi noted.

He added: “Should no new law be passed for one reason or another, it would not be shameful to acknowledge failure and go to parliamentary elections under the law that is currently in effect with a necessary technical extension of parliament’s term.”

The patriarch justified his suggestion by warning that “what would be greatly shameful and detrimental would be going either to indefinite extension — which would be a usurpation of power and the people’s will — or to a vacuum that would be destructive for state institutions.”

Al-Rahi cautioned that “more than ever, Lebanon today needs the confidence of its sons and the confidence of the international community in its State.”

“This is the confidence upon which it builds its economic, commercial and political ties with the other countries,” the patriarch added.

He also warned that “the domestic and regional situations do not allow additional setbacks that prevent state institutions from performing their numerous roles.”

“No one has the right to manipulate Lebanon’s fate, because it belongs to the Lebanese people, not certain individuals or groups,” al-Rahi added.

He also noted that the Lebanese are counting on President’s Michel Aoun’s “wisdom and higher responsibility for the country’s fate in order to spare Lebanon any political, economic and social crisis linked to the electoral law and its repercussions.”