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Patriarch Raï urges Lebanese to vote en masse at elections

rai urgesAs Lebanon gears up for parliamentary election on 15 May, Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï urges Lebanese citizens to vote en masse to preserve the country’s self-determination and identity as it endures its worst crisis since the war of 1975-1990.

By Lisa Zengarini

Lebanon is slated to hold a long-awaited parliamentary election on 15 May, which many Lebanese, as well as the international community, hope will bring an overdue political change and provide concrete solutions to the country’s multiple crises, including its worst economic tumble in decades.

Ahead of the polls, Maronite Patriarch Béchara Boutros al-Raï has urged Lebanese citizens to come out to vote in great numbers, stressing that elections give them the opportunity to tell the world what kind of country they aspire to.

Citizens want a free and neutral Lebanon

Speaking at Mass on Sunday in the Shrine of Our Lady of Harissa, Cardinal al Raï remarked that the majority of Lebanese people want “a free, democratic and neutral Lebanon; a Lebanon with an historical identity, founded on justice and equality with one army and constitutional institutions”, and want to “live and prosper in a free economy”.

For this reason, he said, all Lebanese citizens should make use of their right to vote “to tell the world what Lebanon they want”, and that they reject any geopolitical design aimed at putting the country under foreign tutelage and reducing its full sovereignty.

In recent years, the head of the Maronite Church has insistently advocated for Lebanese neutrality so as to preserve its independence and pluralistic identity.

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