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Maronite Patriarch: Lebanese voters, not factions, should choose next president

Catholic World News - March 26, 2014

The right to choose Lebanon’s next president belongs to the people of that country, and “not to the Iranians, the Saudis, or the Americans,” the leader of the Maronite Catholic Church told a national television audience on March 25.

Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai said the Lebanese parliament should act promptly to select candidates for the presidency; he rejected the notion that the choice should be made by deals between leading political factions. The term of the current Lebanese leader, Michel Sleiman, expires on May 25. The Maronite Patriarch voices his fears that negotiations aimed at selecting a candidate acceptable to the major blocs would result in a stalemate.

Cardinal Rai mentioned during the television interview that he has spoken with diplomats from other countries, and asked them to keep Lebanon clear from involvement in the Syrian civil war and in other Middle East conflicts, so that the county can conduct its presidential election without fear of external influence.

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