Al-Rahi Urges ‘Inclusive’ Govt. Conforming to National Pact ‘before Independence Day’

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi on Sunday called for the formation of an “inclusive government” before Independence Day, which will be marked on November 22.

“The Lebanese want the anticipated new government to be an inclusive, consensual and effective government. A government that unites rather than divides, a government that shares responsibilities with the spirit of the National Pact and the constitution, not with the mentality of the distribution of shares or clinging to a certain ministerial portfolio,” al-Rahi said during his Sunday Mass sermon.

“They hope it will be formed before Independence Day so that their joy would be complete,” al-Rahi added.

President Michel Aoun’s election and Saad Hariri’s appointment as premier-designate have raised hopes that Lebanon can begin tackling challenges including a stagnant economy, a moribund political class and the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees.

In a sign that Hariri’s task ahead might not be easy, Hizbullah’s MPs declined to endorse him for the prime minister post, even though his nomination was all-but-assured.

Hariri is likely to struggle with his government’s policy statement, which will have to make reference to Israel, as well as the war in Syria, both potential flashpoints with Hizbullah.

Horsetrading is currently revolving around the distribution of key posts like the finance, defense and energy ministries.