Rahi Warns against ‘Tampering’ With Elections, Demands International Observers

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Rahi Warns against ‘Tampering’ With Elections, Demands International Observers

Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rahi warned on Sunday against tampering with the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled next spring, stressing that such practices would lead to risks of unknown repercussions.

Speaking during a Sunday Mass in Bkirki, the Patriarch said: “We are counting on the current government, especially Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who assured us in his honorable visit yesterday, of his determination to work to overcome the many obstacles that would confront his cabinet, and to embark on the reform workshop immediately, without which there is no success, aid, or Arab and international solidarity.”

Rahi hinted at the Iranian meddling in the Lebanese affairs, saying that as much as Lebanon, in its tremendous crises, needs the help of its friends and international monetary institutions, the state must preserve the country's independence, sovereignty, and normal relations, so that some in-kind aid is not a cover for dominating Lebanon and undermining its identity and peaceful role in the East.

“Lebanon's interest requires that it respects its commitments, and that reform and reconstruction remain within a unified national framework. We hope that the government will be the watchful eye on Lebanon's interest, and the one that utters the bold truth,” he noted.

Rahi stressed “keenness on holding the parliamentary elections at their constitutional dates."

He said that the people see the elections as an opportunity to change the painful reality, and believe it to be a starting point for a new national life.

“The people want transparent and fair elections, far from political money that bets on people's poverty to buy their votes and conscience. Starting now, we call for Lebanese and international monitoring of the electoral process.”

Source: Asharq Al-Awsat