Patriarch Rai: Lebanese lawmakers take orders from outside powers

Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai criticized on Friday Lebanese leaders for “destroying” the country,  slamming MPs for “protecting their seats” by extending the parliament’s mandate.
“The masks have fallen from the faces of our officials in Lebanon,” Patriarch Rai said at the end of his two-week pastoral visit to Australia.

Patriarch Rai’s comments came after the Lebanese lawmakers extended on Wednesday the mandate of the parliament for the second time.

“The MPs hurried like brave students to protect their seats by extending their mandate and going against the will of the people and the constitution,” he said.

The patriarch also slammed MPs who rejected the extension, adding that they should reveal their objection by resigning from the parliament.

The parliament voted by 95 votes out of 97 members who attended the session to extend its mandate until 2017.

Only two lawmakers voted against the draft-law. But 31 boycotted the session in protest over the decision.

Lebanon has been also without a president since May, when President Michel Sleiman stepped down after his six-year mandate ended without a successor.

Asked about the vacuum at the Baabda Palace and who would vote for a president if the parliament is illegitimate, Rai said: “I will not speak to them, but to the countries that sent them orders because they are not the decision-makers.”

Patriarch Rai accused the lawmakers on several occasions of taking orders from outside powers.

Source: LBCI