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Maronite Church Calls for Early Presidential Elections

Retrieved from Naharnet on December 06, 2006

The Maronite Church on Wednesday called for early presidential elections to help settle the serious crisis

which is threatening to split Lebanon.

The council of Maronite Bishops, in a declaration of the church's principles, also urged leaders of the

community and other Lebanese spiritual groups to agree on a "code of honor" to settle differences

through dialogue, reject violence and armed confrontations and refrain from agitation.

The Maronite declaration of principles called for ratifying an agreement with the United Nations on an

International Tribunal to try suspects charged with the 2005 assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri and

other related "terrorist" crimes.

It warned against linking Lebanon to regional and International disputes and called for the formation of

an "entente government" to contain the explosive situation.

If the entente government could not be formed, the statement noted, efforts should be exerted to form a

government of "independent" figures to adopt a new elections law based on the principle of small

electoral constituencies that can "truly represent" the various Lebanese communities.

The statement also called for the full implementation of the Taef Accord, which ended the Lebanese civil

war in 1990, and stressed on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

The Maronite Church stressed on the need for settling the question of armed Palestinian factions in


Commenting on Hizbullah's weapons, without mentioning the Shiite faction by name, the statement said

weapons in Lebanon should be "strictly controlled by the legitimate security forces."

The council of Maronite Bishops also called for an urgent meeting of the Lebanese parliament to tackle

the serious crisis which is splitting the nation.

The council, which held its monthly meeting at suburban Bkirki under patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, called on

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri to convene the house to deliberate the issue that has paralyzed

constitutional institutions.

The statement noted that the "confusing situation through which the Lebanese are going is regrettable.

Constitutional institutions have been paralyzed".

It said: "nothing is left except Parliament, but it doesn't convene."

"That is why," the statement added, "we plead with its speaker Nabih Berri to convene it so it may find a

way out of the crisis".