Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sfeir tries to bring together divided Christians to find a new president

Beirut (AsiaNews) – Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir has launched an initiative to find common ground among Christians divided between the ruling majority and the opposition to elect the next president who, according to the constitution, must be a Maronite. This “last decisive chance” is designed to their “marginalisation” of Christians and entails meetings in Bkerke next Thursday and Friday with Christian leaders from both sides of the political divide.

The Bkerke initiative, which is reportedly backed by the Vatican, should have brought together warring Christian leaders; however, the two camps objected to a joint meet.

On Sunday, Cardinal Sfeir said that the upcoming presidential election had to be treated seriously and “with a great deal of awareness” since the presidency is an institution that deserves respect and the highest consideration. Should it not receive its due respect, other institutions might suffer as well. For this reason, the patriarch will focus on the need to find a consensus with regard to the next president in accordance with the constitution.

All this, according to the Maronite Church, should become part of a document that both sides would sign. This is impossible under present circumstances, but there is still some lingering hope that separate talks with the patriarch might lead to a joint meeting. (PD)

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