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Deadlocked presidential election threatens Lebanon's future, Patriarch warns

Catholic World News - July 07, 2014

A delay in electing a new president “threatens the very existence of Lebanon,” the Maronite Catholic Patriarch has warned.

Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai, underlined a June message from the Maronite bishops in his homily during a Mass on July 6, saying that the deadlock in presidential elections is a “disgrace” that is damaging Lebanon’s prospects for peace and for autonomy.

In a message sent to the Fides news service, Patriarch Rai said that Lebanon’s political system, which calls for the selection of a Maronite as president, offers an example of power-sharing that could be useful to other countries in the region. The system, he said, provides an alternative to the “religious, political, and social monopoly” that prevails in other countries.

Lebanon’s legislation has the task of electing a president. Since Michel Sleiman stepped down after finishing his presidential term in May, a powerful bloc of Islamic lawmakers affiliated with the Hamas movement has stalled the election of a new leader.

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