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Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch rejects changes to political system

Lebanon's Christian Maronite patriarch Bechara Boutros al-Rahi speaks to the press following a meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun, at Baabda Palace in Beirut, Lebonan on 29 August, 2018 [Lebanese Presidency Handout/Anadolu Agency]
Lebanon's Christian Maronite patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi in Beirut, Lebonan on 29 August, 2018 [Lebanese Presidency Handout / Anadolu Agency]

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Moran Mor Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi on Sunday refused to discuss any changes to the country's political system, while arguing that this step cannot be taken at a time when many forces are engaged in an illegal arms race, and "until all political components adhere to legitimacy" in the country.

Al-Rahi stated: "We are not ready to discuss modifying the system before all components adhere to legitimacy and give up their private projects. There shall not be any amendment in the state system with the existence of several statelets in the country."

"What's the use of changing the system at a time when many forces are racing to acquire more weapons, be it in the hands of Lebanese parties or foreigners."

During his visit to Lebanon after the Beirut explosion, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the need to modify the country's system, while conditioning aid to the country on changes in the ruling political class.

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The Lebanese political system is based on the division of powers and sovereign positions according to religious and sectarian affiliations.

Regarding the formation of the new government, Al-Rahi asked: "How can a sect claim a ministry for itself, as if it has the right to do so, and hinder the country's progress, causing an economic and livelihood crisis, just to achieve personal gains?"

"We refuse privatisation and monopoly, from a constitutional point of view and not a sectarian one. Our position is not meant to undermine any particular sect, but we rather reject any heresy that clashes with the principle of equality between ministries and sects and impacts principles of national partnership."

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