The failure of Lebanese politicians to elect a president is effectively
allowing foreign powers to make the decision for them, Maronite
Patriarch Beshara Rai said Sunday. “The Lebanese (politicians) have given up on their role in electing a
president, because they've let (countries) abroad decide for them," Rai
said during a mass held in the eastern town of Ferzol.
Rival parties have failed numerous times to elect a successor to Michel Sleiman, whose tenure ended in May 2014. The main candidates for the presidency are Change and Reform bloc
leader Michel Aoun and Marada Movement head Sleiman Frangieh, both of
whom have boycotted parliamentary sessions to elect a new head of state.
Countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia, which have a heavy influence
in Lebanese politics, have both previously denied that they are
interfering in the election.
The Maronite patriarch also called on the Lebanese to preserve their
unity, adding that the diversity in the country was what kept it unique.
“Lebanon is nothing without its diversity, and Christians in the
Levant have historic roots and we will not give up those roots,” he